Israel's Media Watch Praises New Ombudsman David Regev

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(Credit: Jerusalem Post, screenshot)

The Jerusalem Post praised Israel’s new ombudsman David Regev in a March 14 opinion column by Israel’s Media Watch vice chairman and chairman.

Israel’s Media Watch identifies its purpose as a media watchdog working to monitor media bias and maintain media ethics.  Israel Media Watch told iMediaEthics by e-mail that the column is a “regular column” the Jeruaslem Post publishes weekly.  In an e-mail to iMediaEthics, the group identified “biased and slanted journalism, personal opinion in news coverage, [and] insufficient regulation” as some of the ethical issues it focuses on.

According to the Jerusalem Post, “In less than three months, Regev used his authority more than his predecessor did in a decade.”  Regev became ombudsman Jan. 1 and his journalism bacground includes 23 years working for Yediot Aharonot.

The Jerusalem Post noted that broadcast regulation in Israel “is two-tiered:”  Israel’s Second Authority for Television and Radio, which regulates, upholds “quality standards,” and takes action “where appropriate,” and, Israel’s ombudsman, who works with the public concerning “its viewpoints, complaints and comments on all issues pertaining to the broadcasts.” The two regulators are accountable to different parts of government, which “provides checks and balances,” according to the Jerusalem Post.

SATR’s website explains it is “a public authority that regulates commercial broadcasts in Israel” and “represents the public interest in the commercial broadcasting channels in Israel, enables their operations and regulates them, promotes original productions, protects against the offense of the public interest, encourages the incorporation of public interest contents and initiates studies on the social effects of the broadcasts.”

The ombudsman is created as “an independent body who is not required to report to the various entities of the Second Authority,” according to the SATR website.

The Jerusalem Post wrote:

“It is the ombudsman’s job to assure that the public is represented and heard and that its needs are treated seriously. The job also serves as an interface between the journalists, producers and editors and the public, providing them with much-needed information regarding what the public really cares about.”

The Jerusalem Post slammed previous SATR ombudsman, Giora Rozen, for failing to take action on any issue.  Likewise, the Jerusalem Post noted that Supreme Court Justice Noam Solberg similarly found that “The Ombudsman should have worked harder, viewed the unedited material, compared it to the final product, studied the issue in depth and only then provided his opinion.”

Some examples of Redev’s active authority include requiring Channel 2’s Gal Uchovsky to apology for describing “Im Tirzu leader Ronen Shoval” as a “racist” and a “monster,” and starting “proceedings against” two radio hosts — 103FM radio host Nathan Zehavi for his “foul mouth” and “advocate Yorm Sheftel’s s use of descriptions like ‘anti-Semites” and “media terrorists.”

We asked Israel Media Watch what prompted its column.  Israel Media Watch explained that the group wanted to commend Redev for “his efforts” and that the group wants to both call out “the media for its defaults” and give “positive reinforcements.”

We have written to SATR for comment and will update with any response.

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Israel’s Media Watch Praises New Ombudsman David Regev

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