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April 27, 2016 11:54 am

Freedom House Sadly Joins the Anti-Israel Crowd

avatar by Elder of Ziyon

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Distribution of the Israel Hayom newspaper in Jerusalem. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Distribution of the Israel Hayom newspaper in Jerusalem. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Freedom House had been one of the remaining, objective arbiters of which countries are free and which are not. A few years ago, I had shown that there was no correlation between how free a country was according to Freedom House, and how much attention it received from the anti-Israel Human Rights Watch.

Unfortunately, Freedom House seems to have fallen prey to the politically correct anti-Israel crowd.

Its new report on press freedom (embargoed until later this week) changes Israel’s rating from “free” to “partly free.” And the reasons it gave to justify this are, by any measure, bizarre.

Israel declined due to the growing impact of Yisrael Hayom, whose owner-subsidized business model endangered the stability of other media outlets, and the unchecked expansion of paid content — some of it government funded — whose nature was not clearly identified to the public.

Israel’s score went to 32, which is barely in the “partly free” category.
Freedom House ranks freedom of the press under three broad criteria (basically, whether there is freedom under the legal, political, or economic environment). The description of why Israel’s score went down seems to be wholly based on their perception of the economic environment making it harder for print media to survive, because Israel Hayom is distributed for free (plus the “paid content” part which I don’t understand.)
In 2015, Freedom House gave Israel a 30 — a slightly better score, and it gave its reasons here. But I fail to see how those reasons have changed for the worse this year.

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  • Yaakov

    I’ve read their reports for 2015 and for 2016, and they sound pretty objective. I don’t see any evidence that the “anti-Israel crowd” had anything to do with this. There is a problem with “paid content” in many media publications and it needs to be addressed.

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