Karhi’s Communications Bill: Violation of Media’s Independence and Freedom of Expression

>> Read the full Position Paper

The Broadcast Media Draft Bill published on 24 July 2023 (hereinafter: the bill) proposes substantial changes to Israel’s media landscape. Its provisions are in contradiction to the public interest, infringe upon the independence of the media and its status as the fourth estate in a democratic system, and thus impair the citizenry’s basic right to freedom of expression and to a free media.

Below are the main points of these provisions:

  1. Existing regulators shut down, Politically controlled broadcasting authority established
  2. Licensing system replaced by registry
  3. No structural separation protecting the independence of news broadcasters and maintaining their ethical conduct
  4. Requirement to invest in local productions drastically reduced
  5. Weakening public broadcasting
  6. ‘Accountability and demand for information’ camouflages politically-controlled audience research

There is no question that regulation is needed, provided it is current and focused on ensuring that the media can effectively serve a broad social and civic interest, as well as the people’s right to freedom of expression, information, and media, based on the realization that this is essential to the fabric of democratic life.

Unfortunately, the proposed bill runs counter to all the above, and is designed to promote government control of audio-visual content and in the process create a raucous and unrestrained media environment, subordinate to political considerations. The proposed law should be shelved altogether, and provisions should be made instead to establish an independent media authority, bolster public broadcasting, ensure funding for high-quality local and children’s productions (and increase their number), and address the challenges created by the latest technological changes.

Read More:

>> “The Karhi Law is a Move by Netanyahu to Place the Media under Siege” by Zulat president, Zehava Galon



Dr. Maha Sabbah Karkabi


Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Tel Aviv University (2015), a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London (2015-2016), a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Sociology at Tel Aviv University (2016-2017), and a postdoctoral fellowship Ph.D. at the Humphrey Institute for Social Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (2018-2020).
Dr. Maha Karbahi’s areas of interest focus on the connection between social change, family behavior, and gender inequality in societies in the process of change and specifically in Palestinian Arab society in Israel. Her research draws attention to the study of family life and employment, using a combined “ethnic lens” and “gender lens” and paying attention to the perspective of Palestinian Arab women, a group characterized by intersections between multiple marginal locations, which over the years has remained hidden from the research eye. Dr. Karkabi-Sabah’s research is published in professional journals and chapters in scientific books that are considered pioneers in family research, work, and gender equality.


Prof. Frances Raday

Professor Emeritus in the Lieberman Chair in Labor Law, in the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University and serves as a full professor in the College of Management’s academic track, where she also serves as chair of the graduate program and as honorary president of the Concord Center for International Law Absorption. Radai was a member of a working group of the UN Human Rights Council on discrimination against women. In addition, she is a prominent and feminist human rights activist.


Dr. Rawia Aburabia 

Faculty member of Sapir Academic College’s School of Law, received her PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research deals with the interface between law, gender, minorities, and human rights. Has published in leading journals on the subject of the matrimonial laws pertaining to Muslim women in Israel. Her book Under the Law, Outside Justice: Polygamy, Gendered Citizenship, and Colonialism in Israeli Law is expected to be published as part of the Gender Series of Kibbutz Meuhad Publishing House.

Dr. Aburabia has extensive experience in international human rights and public law. She has worked as a jurist for the Association for Civil Right and has been invited as a specialist to address such international forums as the United Nations and the European Parliament on the subject of indigenous communities and minority rights. She has interned with Human Rights Watch in Washington DC, and has been a member of the executive board of Amnesty International. In 2018, she was selected by the magazine Globes as one of the 40 most promising young persons in Israel under the age of 40.



Ron Kessler

With over two decades of experience in the field of digital content, Ron has participated in numerous political and social campaigns. He helped run the digital activity of senior public officials, and worked in various NGOs. Ron is a fundamentally optimistic man, who believes that Israel can be changed and so can people. Lives in Tel Aviv.