New study: The Watchdog of Democracy?
The study shows that “The Watchdog of Democracy" in Israel tends to preserve a policy of discrimination against various cultural groups in the country based on nationality.
I’lam Media Center recently published a new report. The research analyzed the attitude of the Israeli media towards the discourse of human rights and freedom and the way human rights are expressed in Hebrew media. It examined seven of the most dominant media outlets in Israel, representing various positions: the newspapers Yedioth Ahronoth, Haaretz, Maariv and Israel Today, and television channels, Channel 2, Here 11, and Channel 10.
This research includes articles from the news sections of newspapers and news programs on the TV show published in August-October 2017. 3,390 articles were reviewed in total, 741 of them were identified as dealing with human freedoms. The research hypothesis is that examining the human rights and freedom discourse in the media can help us understand the situation regarding these rights and freedom in Israel.
This research shows that the Hebrew media in Israel is influenced by national bias and applies it in journalism. The degree of support or denial of freedoms is demonstrated by the amount of coverage of these subjects, and is directly linked to which group is being covered. As a result, 80.4% of the coverage about individual liberties are dedicated to the Jewish citizens of Israel, while only 8.6% is dedicated to the Arab-Palestinian citizens of the state. When it comes to those who are not citizens of the state, but under Israel's control and responsibility in the region, the lack of coverage is even more prominent with only 3% regarding Palestinians in Jerusalem, and 4.9% regarding the Occupied Territories .
It should be emphasized that whether the coverage is positive or negative, the framing of the content also got influenced by the groups identity. Thus, this study shows that the gaps in coverage of the various groups in Israel, between the Jewish majority and the Palestinian Arab minority has widened in recent years. It uncovered that the Hebrew media avoids covering violations of Palestinians' rights in general, and Palestinians' rights in East Jerusalem and the Occupied Territories in particular, concerning freedom of movement, freedom of protest, freedom of expression, and others. It has often been suggested that the mere reference to the issue of liberties does not necessarily mean expressing support for this discourse. Most of the time, the framing of the coverage may even be critical of a particular freedom requirement.
Authors: Rasha Canaan, Yoni Mendel, Gal Kramersky