Mar 20, 2014

Proposed Law: kill off Yisrael Hayom

If you thought requiring a business license for operating a newspaper is a violation of the freedom of speech (as guaranteed by the US Constitution but not by any Israeli constitution that does not exist..), you are really not going to like yesterday law proposal submitted by MK Eitan Cabel (Labor).

Cabel has proposed that any newspaper of the "big four" daily papers with the widest distribution in the country will not be allowed to be distributed for free but will have to be sold for at least a symbolic price - at least 70% of the cheapest newspaper with the greatest distribution.

Basically this law is going to hurt only Yisrael Hayom, which has become one of the widest distributed newspapers (or maybe the widest), but is distributed for free.

Supposedly, they explain in the proposal, which is supported by MKs from a number of parties, the objective of the proposal is to strengthen the written press in Israel, and recognize the great importance and strengthen the freedom of expression and democracy.

The newspapers in Israel today are in a serious financial crisis and the greatest threat to them is that they cannot truly and fairly compete when other newspapers are distributed for free. Such newspapers are destroying the competition and do not allow the market to recover.

I enjoy the irony of "strengthening freedom of expression" by stopping a newspaper from distributing the way it wants to.

With support of MKs from both sides of the Knesset, this proposal might have a pretty good chance of being voted into law. Though I don't get why some of the MKs, like Habayit Hayehudi MKs, are supporting it. Yisrael Hayom is considered a right wing newspaper, supportive of Bibi Netanyahu (it even achieved the nickname "Bibiton")...

If this law should pass, Yisrael Hayom would either have to close up shop, begin charging a fee, or lessen their distribution.

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  1. Welcome to the Bolshevik Republic of the Middle East....

  2. Israel has a constitution; it's just not codified. Every country in the world has a constitution, but in a few cases (Israel, UK, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia) it's not a specific document.

    That said, this law is evil and stupid.

    Note that newspaper #3, Maariv, is about to go under, and take Makor Rishon, which owns it, down with it (or the other way around). Maybe that's the Bayit Yehudi concern.

  3. This isn't about freedom of speech, it's about whether someone should be allowed to run a business that runs all of its competitors into the ground by providing something very inferior for 'free' that probably only covers its costs by infusions of funds from Shelson Adelson.

    The problem with the law is that print journalism is in trouble across the world for reasons that are very difficult to remedy. This law will only slow the decline, not turn the tide.

    Now if only there was a bill that could put the Jerusalem Post out of its misery. It's time to put Old Yeller down, not let it die a slow and embarrassing death.

    1. If it's so inferior, how exactly is it driving its competitors into the ground?

    2. Inferior, but cheap, products win all the time. Witness Chinese manufacture and the rise of Walmart.

    3. I am not sure why you call it inferior. I find it better quality than most Israeli papers (except Haaretz, but they are on the opposite side of the political spectrum)

    4. It is about freedom of speech. It's about Yediot Aharonot which has suffered and not liking it. It is about Yediot lobbying politicians very hard to hurt Yisrael Hayom, including Bennet and Ayelet Shaked who surprise surprise received a very good article in a recent weekend Yediot edition. It's about the country waking up and not accepting the one soded propaganda that Yediot has dealt out for so long.

  4. Yisrael Hayom is a danger to Eitan Cabel because it has successfully introduced real competition into the media. No longer does Yediot and Maariv (which for the last 20 years at least is a Yediot wannabee with no clear differentiation) hold a similar left-wing secular monopoly. ALong came Sheldon Adelson and introduced a game changer. The left has continued to delegitimize it by calling it the Bibiton, but frankly, they are jealous that Adelson managed to copy the tabloid format and actually push a nationalistic agenda that is not knee-jerk against the right, Likud, settlers and everything else not liked by Moses (owner of Yediot) and Shoken (owner of Haaretz).

    This is just another anti-democratic law like the recent 'Meshilut'.

    I wouldn't be surprised that Bayit Yehudi is not totally against that. They seem to forget where they come from.

  5. This is the same government that is putting bachurim in jail. Nothing is beyond them.


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