Israeli Press Institute Launched

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin speaking at the launch of the Israeli Press Institute, at Beit Hanasi, Sunday. (Mark Neyman/GPO)

President Reuven Rivlin hosted the launch of the Israeli Press Institute, which will be aimed at restoring public confidence in the news media, at Beit HaNasi on Sunday.

The role of the institute will be, first and foremost, to redefine the blurred borders between political propaganda, marketing content and serious journalism. To remind us all that the media, defined as the watchdog of democracy, is a uniquely important part of the democratic apparatus whose task it is to criticize and investigate, without fear or favor, and to whom the principle of separation of powers must also apply,” Rivlin said in his remarks

“In recent years, there has been a crisis of confidence between the public and the press. The way to restoring it will never be through adopting a political agenda of one kind or another. Public faith will be earned only through professional, thorough, uncompromising work which is faithful to clear journalistic ethics, to the Israeli public and to Israeli democracy.”

President of the Israeli Press Institute, former High Court Justice Dalia Dorner, who took part in the launch, said:

“In recent years, we have seen the deterioration of public trust in the media. This trend is very dangerous for democracy, whose strength relies largely on a strong and trustworthy press and on public consensus regarding the crucial value of the freedom of the press. I have met many young people in recent years, and many of them receive most of their information from social networks. I came to the conclusions that in order to restore public confidence in the press, and particularly among young people, we must work on media literacy, which is not currently taught in the formal education system. I worked to create the Israeli Press Institute primarily to fill that gap.”

According to a statement released by the GPO: “The institute will advance public media literacy, including critical reading of the press. The institute will work with Israeli and international bodies – academic institutions, think tanks and civil society and professional bodies. The institute will award an annual monetary prize to journalists for important reportage and commentary, and will hold an annual conference at which research will be presented and opinions will be shared regarding ways of strengthening Israeli journalism and public confidence in it.”

No direct reference was made to the most vociferous critics of Israeli news coverage—the right wing, which for years has accused it of a left-liberal bias.

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