The Knesset passed in the first reading the amendments which increase media penalty to $80,000 in libel cases with absent damages.

While the move seems contrary to the freedom of expression, it is much warranted in Israel. In Western democracies media competition inflicts self-regulated punishment on lying media. No news outlet can afford to lie excessively because it would lose audience through being continuously exposed by competing news sources. Thus there is little need for judicial punishment.

The situation is different in Israel whose several major media outlets pursue a similar agenda, except perhaps for a single tabloid. There is nonpolitical competition; on the contrary, they inflate each other’s lies. Such quasi-monopoly calls for government intervention, and the proposed bill provides it.

Samson Blinded

 

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