Israel - Media

The state owns and operates the major telephone communications services, although radio and television are increasingly privately owned. The state radio stations include the government's Israel Broadcasting Authority ( Shidurei Israel ), the army's Defense Forces Waves ( Galei Zahal ), and the Jewish Agency's Zion's Voice to the Diaspora ( Kol Zion la-Gola ), aimed mostly at Jewish communities in Europe and the US. The purchase of color television sets has become widespread since taxes on imported receivers were cut and the government stopped filtering out the color from imported television programs. In 1999, there were 2.8 million mainline telephones and 2.5 million cellular phones in use. In 2000, there were 526 radios and 335 television sets for every 1,000 people. As of 1998 there were 23 AM and 15 FM radio stations. In 1995, there were 17 television stations. In 2001, there were 1.9 million Internet subscribers served by 21 service providers.

All newspapers are privately owned and managed. Most newspapers have 4–16 pages, but there are weekly supplements on subjects such as politics, economics, and the arts. The largest national daily Hebrew newspapers (with their average 2002 circulations) are Yediot Achronot ( Latest News , 300,000), Ma'ariv Evening ( Evening Prayer , 160,000), Hadashot ( The News, 55,000), and Ha'aretz ( The Land, 65,000), all published in Tel Aviv. Also out of Tel Aviv are two Russian papers, Nasha Strana ( Our Country , 35,000) and Tribuna ( Tribune , NA); the Polish Nowiny Kurier (12,000); the German Hadashot Israel ; the Hungarian Uj Kelet (20,000); and the Romanian Viata-Noastra (30,000). The English-language Jerusalem Post (30,000) is published in Jerusalem.

Although there is no political censorship within Israel, restrictions are placed on coverage of national security matters. Individuals, organizations, the press, and the electronic media freely debate public issues and often criticize public policy and government officials.

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