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Press Freedom in Israel

press freedom
Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman (left) and EU High Commissioner Javier Solana at a press conference on the Middle East Peace Process, on 25 October 2007 in Jerusalem. Photo

The status of press freedom in Israel is ambivalent. On one hand, the independent press in Israel enjoys a high degree of freedom to cover whatever it sees fit. On the other hand, the state-owned media are under strict control. The main newspapers and news items on television rely on sources from within the state or the military, particularly when reporting on political or military issues. The language and the choice of items featured in these programs are often based on the views of the state and its military institutes.

In Freedom House’s Global Press Freedom Ranking 2013 Israel ranked 64th (Partly Free) out of the 196 countries reviewed (down from 61 (free) in 2011). Compared to other countries in the region, Israel ranks high, with only Tunisia, Lebanon, Kuwait and Libya in the ‘Partly free’ category. The reason for its low ranking is the practice of heavy censorship in matters concerning the Occupied Palestinian Territories and military affairs in general. Many journalists from abroad have been arrested, sometimes with use of violence; some were subsequently expelled.

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