Firstly, Image Management would like to share our deepest condolences to the Israeli families who were affected by the tragic blast outside the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi yesterday. Such incidents are extremely unfortunate and it can only be our sincere hope that such incidents are not repeated.
In light of the car bomb attack on Monday, we at Image Management began researching about how Israel is perceived in the world. After all, Israel is the 100th smallest country in the world and only makes up 1/6th of 1% of the total landmass of the Middle East, yet the media attention it receives clearly outweighs its size. Israel and its policies are under constant scrutiny from global journalists and it is interesting for all of us, especially the media, to ponder about why Israel is so important to the global media dialogue.
Much of the press reports about the country are, unfortunately, filtered through a narrow lens of conflict or terrorism, and often, the robust state of media in Israel goes unnoticed beyond its borders. While the horrors of terrorism cannot be condemned enough, an active and robust media can go a long way in informing the public and curbing the spread of religious intolerance and bigotry.
In this regard, here are the top 12 facts about the media in Israel that we have put together that may help to better understand this country.
1) Israel has more foreign journalists per capita than any other nation on earth.
2) Israel receives more media coverage, per capita and per square foot of land, than any other nation on earth.
3) There are 22 daily newspapers published in Israel. 11 editions of these are Hebrew, 5 are Russian, 4 are English, and 4 are Arabic. There are also French and German editions available.
4) There are 17 Broadcast TV stations in Israel and 92.6% of the households have a TV in them – which makes Israel rank 24th in the world in terms of television ownership.
5) In 2011, Israelis watched an average of 232 minutes (almost four hours) of TV a day, putting it third behind the US and UK in terms of TV viewership.
6) Due to several allegations of media bias on either side, the press coverage of the Israeli-Palestine conflict has received more complaints of partisanship than any other news topic in the world. There are 22 media watchdog groups that are dedicated to monitoring the reliability of the press coverage about Israel and Palestine.
7) The most popular Facebook Page in Israel is that of Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman, who has over 1 million Facebook likes in a country of 7.6 million people and 3.4 million Facebook Users. That means 1 in 3 FB users in Israel are fans of Natalie Portman!
8 ) In the Freedom of the Press Report, an annual study published the US based NGO Freedom House, Israel’s press is ranked as the most “free” in the Middle East and North Africa. Israel had a rating of 29 (the lower the score, the more free the media.) Comparatively, the world’s most free press was in Finland (a score of 10) and India’s score was 35 (Partly free status)
9) Similarly, in the Press Freedom Index, published by Reporters Without Borders, Israel ranks globally as 92nd in terms of press freedom. In the same report, India is ranked 131.
10) The history of the press in Israel began in 1863, with the establishment of two Hebrew weekly newspapers – Ha-Levanon and Havazzelet.
11) Since 1986, the Israeli Government has allowed private and commercial media outlets to compete with the State Run media.
12) According to a recent ComScore study, Israel is the world’s biggest user of social media. Israeli’s spend an average of 11.1 hours on social networking sites per week – this is higher than the US (6.9 hours) or the UK (7 hours) and more than double the global average of 5.7 hours!