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New libel bill is no win-win

New libel bill is no win-winThe Knesset passed in the first reading a series of amendments to increase the penalty to $80,000 in libel cases, absent damages.

While the move seems contrary to freedom of expression, it is much warranted in Israel. In Western democracies media competition inflicts its own punishment on lying media. No news outlet can afford to lie excessively because it would lose its audience by being continually exposed by competing news sources. Thus there is little need for judicial punishment.

The situation is different in Israel, whose major media outlets all pursue a similar agenda, except perhaps for a single tabloid. There is no political competition; on the contrary, they inflate one another’s lies. Such a quasi-monopoly calls for government intervention, and the proposed bill provides it.

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Past coverage: Knesset
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