ARTICLE: Who's Afraid of Channel 7?: Ideological Radio and Freedom of Speech in Israel Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2002 Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University
Stanford Journal of International Law

ARTICLE: Who's Afraid of Channel 7?: Ideological Radio and Freedom of Speech in Israel

Winter, 2002

38 Stan. J Int'l L. 79


Iddo Porat* & Issachar Rosen-Zvi**


I. Introduction
In 1988, several prominent Israeli settlers initiated the creation of a new radio station. Called Arutz Sheva (Channel 7), the unlicensed station was broadcast from a ship outside Israel's territorial waters. At the time, Israel's radio market was not open to private operators, and Channel 7 could not have applied for a license. Channel 7 reflected, as it still does, a staunch, nationalistic ideology. It was created, according to its founders, "to provide half of the [Israeli] people with a reliable media that will accurately reflect their opinion." 1 Over the years, Channel 7's popularity among Israelis has grown. 2 By Channel 7's own estimate, it reached twenty-five percent of the Israeli radio audience by 1995. 3

In the mid-1990s, Israel's broadcasting regulations were revolutionized. Under the new rules, privately owned commercial radio stations were allowed to operate on a regional basis, and about sixteen regional stations were established to serve different segments of the Israeli population. 4 Yet even under the new regime, Channel 7 remained unlicensed. For more than six years, both left-leaning and right-leaning governments have tried to shut down Channel 7, or legalize its operations, both to no avail. Channel 7 still broadcasts without a license.

The story of Channel 7 is quite perplexing. Since Channel 7 obviously appeals to a significant segment of Israeli society, a path to legalizing its operation should not have been hard to find. However, this has not happened. This article attempts to account for ...
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