Israeli anchorwoman accused of ‘interpreting’ Netanyahu’s speech

Referring to the discrimination of Arabs got Yonit Levy into troubles with Israel’s regulating body for commercial broadcasting

Yesterday Israeli news reported that the county’s Second Authority for Television and Radio would be investigating the conduct of Channel 2 broadcaster Yonit Levy during transmission of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to congress last week. The Second Authority is the regulating body for all commercial broadcasting in Israel.

Levy reportedly added in her own commentary while translating The Prime Minister’s speech. After Netanyahu said that

Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, only Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy real democratic rights. I want you to stop for a second and think about that. Of those 300 million Arabs, less than one-half of one-percent are truly free, and they’re all citizens of Israel!

Following this statement Levy added:

Naturally, if they could, some of them would speak with the Prime Minister about the discrimination they experience in Israeli society, but this is not something the Prime Minister wishes to discuss.

This is indeed her own commentary, but according to a representative of the Authority’s complaints department (where dozens of complaints were reportedly received about Levy’s comments), Channel 2 reserves the right to include commentary and has full sovereignty over its reporting style.

Indeed, anyone familiar with televised news in Israel, or anywhere in the world for that matter, should know that there is no such thing as objective news, and that the broadcaster always interpolates his or her own commentary. Furthermore, it is clear that this was her own statement separate of Netanayhu’s speech, since she referred to him in third person.

Channel 2 CEO Avi Weiss defended Levy, asserting that her conduct did not constitute anything out of the ordinary custom and that censoring her would damage the promotion of public discourse.

This is not the first time Levy has been accused of injecting her own take on the news into Channel 2 reports. During the Gaza War in 2009, there were complaints received about Levy expressing empathy with Gazans during interviews, and suggesting that the war is unjustified based on the massively in-proportionate ratio of casualties on each side.


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