Press freedom in Israel… only for Israeli’s

IsraelHayom2009The Israeli parliament, the Knesset, will soon be deciding on a bill that could threaten the existence of Israeli free daily Israel Today. The bill, if accepted, will restrict newspaper ownership to Israeli citizens, or to companies majority owned by Israeli’s.

Israel Today, however, is owned by American billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who only seldom visits Israel, although his interest (and investments) in the country are impressive. Adelson has contributed to many philanthropic operations involving Jewish Americans and Israel and was an active supported of former president Bush and the war in Iraq.

His interest in Israeli politics, however, has led to the proposed legislation. In 2006 Adelson invested in Israeli, a free newspaper, but ended suing his fellow investor after a disagreement over control over the newspaper and further investments.

Therefore he founded his own free daily Israel Today in 2007 – soon after this launch Israeli closed down. In 2007 Adelson also tried to gain control over paid paper Maariv. Israel Today is now the second paper in the country after paid paper Yedioth Ahronoth.

Adelson – and Israel Today – is an avid supporter of Binyamin Netanyahu and the Likud party, which in turn led to the proposed legislation (not supported of course by the Likud party members). (The Media Line)

3 Responses to “Press freedom in Israel… only for Israeli’s”

  1. Thursday Edition 12/10/09 « Coney Media Says:

    [...] CHALLENGE TO PRESS DIVERSITY: Proposed new law would mandate Israeli ownership of newspapers. [Newspaper [...]

  2. Newspaper Innovation » Blog Archive » Israel anti-Adelson law and other issues Says:

    [...] The discussion about the position of free Israeli newspaper Israel Today drags on. Some member of the Knesset are proposing a bill to ban foreign ownership of newspapers, a law mainly targeted at US-citizen Sheldon Adelson’s ownership of Israel Today, or rather against its political content, the support of Bibi Netanyahu (see previous post). [...]

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    [...] free anti-freesheet bill were rejected, one on restricting free distribution to one year and one to foreign ownership, the next move is examining ‘tycoon’ power in newspaper, which seems to be directed at [...]