Netanyahu: I will open up news media to competition

PM says quality news media requires competition and diversity of opinions.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

PM Netanyahu
PM Netanyahu
Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took part in a conference in memory of journalist and media personality Uri Elitzur in the city of Givat Shmuel Sunday evening. The conference was also attended by Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

"I feel that Uri was taken from us at the peak of his ability," said the Prime Minister. "He was incisive and honed - he was amazing. I loved him very much. He had a combination of a pleasant personality, clear thinking, and fluent writing. I think that religious Zionism had a respected and powerful expression in the media [in Uri], and that is very important."

Netanyahu stated that a multiplicity of opinions is one of the cornerstones of a liberal democracy. "I would like to open the Israeli media market to competition. This is the only way to create diversity and freedom of choice that will serve all Israeli citizens."

"We need a media with multiple voices and variegated hues. I believe that on the day we have quality communication that highlights the positive as well as the negative, we will know that Uri succeeded," said the prime minister.

He expressed the hope that he would succeed in leading a reform similar to the Open Sky aviation initiative in the field of news media, as he did in the field of aviation. "I am passionate about creating a free economy here and breaking monopolies, including that of the media."

According to Netanyahu, "There are elements in the public and in the media who are trying to tell us that everything that happens in the country is negative and black, as if everything is about to collapse at any moment, and the truth is the opposite."

"There is not enough freedom [of the press], there is not enough competition, and if there is competition, market forces will do their part. The barriers in Israel are still too high. The solution to this diversity of opinion is to increase competition. That's the right policy. I would be happy to see additional representatives in the media - of Ethiopians, haredim, new immigrants, representatives from the periphery, non-Jewish citizens," added the Prime Minister.

Uri Elitzur, who for a time was head of Prime Minister Netanyahu's office, is credited with opening the media to religious Zionists. HIs articles were read avidly by all sectors of Israeli society, and had considerable influence on Israeli public opinion.