On Media and Politics: Between Enlightened Authority and Social Responsibility

This article challenges the dominant ‘victimizing’ overtones offering a balanced view of the love-hate interaction between politics and media in Israel. The political institution, and politicians in particular, are not helpless 'victims' up against the terrible media. The ongoing broadcast regulation that results in a three-stage process – maturation, implementation, negotiation – may characterize the relations between the two branches of the Israeli democracy.

In the stage of maturation, possibly for months and even years, the political and economic circumstances enable the adoption of a medium innovation. In the implementation stage, the actual constaints are revealed, as expected, some of which are predictable and others unforeseen. In the final phase, the stage of negotiation, in light of the aforementioned gaps, bargain is held between the franchisers and the government, usually at the initiative of the former.

These relations are analogous with a pendulum swinging between the authoritarian approach, common in various regimes and in societies situated in the midst of a national struggle, and between the social responsibility approach, conventional in Western democracies.

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