News 13 and its staff thresholds will compensate Minister Regev for NIS 150,000

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As part of a defamation lawsuit filed by the Minister of Transportation following a series of articles dealing with the transfer of funds to publicist Rami Yehoshua, the Jerusalem District Court ruled that the channel did not give the parties a reasonable and fair opportunity to respond. Regev: “The false and wild attack ends in a decisive verdict.”

Photography: Yotam Ronen, Editing: Yardena Abodi-Fox
The Jerusalem District Court ruled today (Sunday) that News 13 and journalist Sefi Ovadia will pay the Minister of Transportation Miri Regev compensation in the amount of NIS 100,000, in addition to legal expenses of NIS 50,000. This is in the context of the defamation lawsuit she filed following a series of articles that dealt with the transfer of funds to the advertiser Rami Yehoshua in the “Not for August” project.

Regev’s lawsuit, then the Minister of Culture, was filed due to a series of publications from August 2015, led by an investigative report by Ovadia, in which it was revealed that the minister and her staff illegally and without conducting a tender required large sums of money to a private advertising agency, Yehoshua TBWA, owned by Rami Yehoshua. The latter was presented as close to Regev and as someone who had an early acquaintance with her.

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Regev (Photo: Ohad Zoygenberg “Haaretz”)

A year ago, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court rejected Regev’s claim, and even ordered her to pay News 13 (then News Ten) legal expenses in the amount of NIS 25,000. The minister, however, appealed to the district court.

The verdict handed down today by the panel of judges headed by Ram Winograd determined that to the extent that the articles focused solely on the transfer of funds without a tender, it is likely that the lawsuit would have been dismissed. However, this is not the case with the presentation of Yehoshua as close to Regev – a fact that the channel also withdrew from. The ruling states that regarding the “proximity” of the advertiser to the channel, the channel did not conduct a responsible and proper journalistic investigation, and did not give the parties a reasonable and fair opportunity to respond to the publication. Due to this, the compensation was determined.

Judge Winograd added that the question of acquaintance and closeness between Joshua and Regev is not a negligible detail, and that it gave the entire publication a criminal touch.

Ovadia (Photo: Reuven Castro)

“The campaign of blackmail, defamation and the false and savage attack of Sefi Ovadia and News 13 ends with a decisive verdict and compensation of NIS 150,000,” Regev tweeted. “I believe that criticism and freedom of the press are important and fundamental principles in a democratic regime, but freedom of the press is not freedom To slander and publish baseless lies … I thank everyone who was a partner in this long journey that ended today and especially my lawyers, who worked day and night to publish my justice. ”

On the other hand, Ovadia tweeted after the ruling that “in fact, Regev’s claims were also rejected in the district court. Due to the principled nature of the issue, and the fear of its lateral impact on the freedom of the press in Israel, we are preparing to appeal the Supreme Court’s decision soon. There, justice will be served. “

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