Voice of Israel government radio’s morning anchor, Aryeh Golan, was guilty of conflict of interest by broadcasting a favorable report on the same left-wing group that sponsored an event where he was master of ceremonies, a media watchdog group charged.
Israel Media Watch complained to the Israel Broadcast Authority that Golan, who previously has clashed on-the-air with nationalists, was the emcee several months ago at an event sponsored by the left-wing Ir Amim (City of Peoples) group.
Earlier this week, Golan broadcast a lengthy and favorable report on the organization. The report was critical of the Jerusalem municipality and the Elad organization, which encourages a Jewish presence in the City of David, located across the road from the Western Wall (Kotel) plaza.
The Ir Amim group recently has presented reports charging that “thousands of Palestinian pupils in eastern Jerusalem are denied access to free public education” and that a growing Jewish presence in eastern Jerusalem is one of several “urgent threats to a negotiated agreement” with the Palestinian Authority on the status of Jerusalem.
Golan’s report on Ir Amim included remarks critical of the nationalist Elad organization, which Ir Amim previously has accused of having “wrested away” property in eastern Jerusalem into the hands of private, right-wing organizations.
Israel Media Watch demanded that Elad and the city of Jerusalem be given equal time to counter the unfavorable slant in the newscast.
Israel Media Watch noted that whether Golan was volunteering or was paid for his work at the Ir Amim event earlier this year, “it is very problematic when a news journalist is involved with a political group, causing a conflict of interest that contradicts guidelines of ethics."
Several months ago, Golan was criticized by the IBA for slamming down the phone during an interview with National Union Knesset Member Dr. Michael Ben-Ari, who reminded Golan that he sported a left-wing organization’s sticker while he was present at the event. Golan called the MK a “liar.”
The IBA responded that its “broadcasters act as emcees from time to time at various events from the entire political spectrum, and this has no influence on the broadcast.” It also noted that the Ir Amim event featured speakers with “various political views.”
Ir Amim’s program focused on the “situation of Jerusalem” and featured three Knesset Members, one each from the Likud, Labor and Kadima parties. An Arab faculty member of the Al Quds University also spoke.