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Israel Press Council

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Introduction

The Israel Press Council is a voluntary body established jointly by the journalists, newspaper editors, publishers and public representatives with a twofold aim:

The Council has an Ethics Tribunal the purpose of which is to hear complaints regarding a breach of ethics by the journalists and or by the media. The Israel Press Council was formed in 1963. It includes public representatives (40%), journalists (30%) and newspaper editors and publishers (30%). It consists of:

The Plenum of the Press Council determines the rules and regulations of Ethics. Basic decisions in the realm of journalistic ethics are dealt with in each of the Council institutions: in the Plenum, the Presidium and in the special committees that are set up for the purpose of examining various subjects.

Complaints in respect of a breach of journalistic ethics are clarified in the Ethics Tribunal. This forum consists of a public representative (who also serves as chairperson of the Tribunal) and a representative each of the publishers, the editors and the journalists. The legal adviser of the Council will determine whether a complaint justifies convening the Tribunal. In some cases the complaints are referred to a bridging process (to work out a compromise solution).

In the event of an appeal, the Tribunal will consist of five members (two of whom are representatives of the public) or seven members (where three are public representatives). In any such event, the forum will be chaired by a jurist. The Tribunal chairperson appoints the forum.

The Tribunal has the power to impose penalties. These penalties can take the form of a warning (the most lenient form of punishment) through reprimand and the publication of an apology by the newspaper — or (in the more extreme cases) punishment can be meted out to suspend the offender from the Council as well as employment cessation of the reporter. The more usual form of punishment is by publishing the decision in the newspaper.

Despite the fact that the Press Council is a voluntary body, the news media generally respect its decisions. The Ethics Tribunal also deal with complaints against journalists and media who are not members of the Press Council. In this case, the only form of punishment available to the Tribunal is publication of the decision.

The Press Council is authorized, by virtue of those bodies which it represents, to preserve the values of freedom of the press, including the free flow of information and freedom of expression. The Council representatives defend freedom of the press both in their appearances before the Knesset as well as in their efforts to garner public opinion. Inter alia, the Council strives toward abolishing legislative attempts aimed at limiting freedom of expression, it strives to prevent attempts by the authorities to act against journalists and the media, and it stands up against monopolies and cartels in the Israeli media.

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Key Personnel

Secretary of the Council

Eric Baker

Executive Director

Moti Rosenblum

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