The Jerusalem District Court accepted the appeal of Minister Miri Regev and ordered the journalist Sefi Ovadia and Channel 10 (now Channel 13) to compensate her in the amount of NIS 100,000 as well as legal expenses in the amount of an additional NIS 50,000.
According to a report this morning (Sunday) in “Globes”, the district court ruled that Channel 10 and Sefi Ovadia’s report do not have the protection of the “responsible press” regarding publications about the “Not for August” project.
At the center of the lawsuit was a report by reporter Sefi Ovadia, according to which Minister Regev and her people improperly and without conducting a tender required large sums of money to a private advertising agency, Yehoshua TBWA, whose owner is Rami Yehoshua.
At the base of the investigation was a recording of Regev and her advisers trying to find in retrospect a rationale for explaining why they allocated these sums of money to an advertiser without a tender, and not through LPM as required by law.
Regev did not deny the existence of the recording, but claimed that the things that were heard in it did not prove that the contract with Rami Yehoshua’s office was made in violation of the rules, adding that the contract was made lawfully and legally.
The Magistrate’s Court ruled that Ovadia’s claim that it was “an attempt to coordinate behind-the-scenes positions to transfer millions of shekels to an advertiser in an improper proceeding, without a tender and contrary to legal recommendations,”
The district court rejected this determination and in its judgment stated, “The only evidence presented by the respondent in support of his testimony regarding the allegation of the connection between the appellant and Joshua was summarized in two records. Examination of these shows that these statements are presumed to have very little weight on their face. “So serious against the background of such statements. Apart from these records, the respondent did not present any record regarding the existence of meetings or conversations with sources.”
The judgment further states that “the conclusion is that even if we did not reach the conclusion that the responsible journalistic protection was denied to the respondents in the circumstances due to not providing a reasonable and fair opportunity to respond to the publication, it should be stated that the publications were not based on quality “.
In a post she published after the verdict, Regev wrote, “5 years ago, 7 articles were published about 3 days in which I was accused, for no wrongdoing, of illegally transferring millions to an advertising agency, whose owner was allegedly an associate of mine, even though I had no prior acquaintance with him. I went through a campaign of blackmail and defamation. Drink my blood, attribute to me a transfer to an acquaintance that was not and was not created and all the media waged a savage attack that threatened to damage my good name, my dignity and public integrity. My path has always been, and remains, The district court today ruled unequivocally, clearly and emphatically, that these were publications that included serious defamation, “of a very high degree.” “Therefore, the channel and its employees ‘thresholds cannot enjoy the protection of the truth in the publication. The district court also ruled that the channel and its employees’ thresholds do not have the protection of ‘responsible journalism’, partly due to ‘failure to conduct a proper journalistic investigation’ on this issue.”
“I believe that criticism and freedom of the press are important and fundamental principles of a democratic regime, but freedom of the press is not the freedom to slander and publish baseless lies. So I went into the legal battle 5 years ago to set a clear standard for the relationship between the media and their subjects. “In order to anchor the right of an elected official to a good name and fair coverage. And I succeeded. 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,” Regev added.
News 13 reported: “News 13 is surprised to discover that the Jerusalem District Court denied the press protection responsible for the investigation in the ‘No to August’ case, contrary to the decision of the court that heard the witnesses and evidence – all based on the claim that a request for response, about 3 hours before broadcast. The article is unreasonable in the circumstances of the case. It should be emphasized that apart from that, Minister Regev’s claims were also rejected in the District Court. Due to the principled nature of the issue, and the fear of its horizontal impact on press freedom in Israel, we are preparing to appeal the Supreme Court. “And we are sure that there, justice will be done.”