update deskIsrael News

‘Channel 14’ war reporters excluded from prestigious journalism awards

Following the uproar, Israel's Academy of Film and Television announced its decision to grant the prize to the channel's Ariel Idan.

A billboard ad for Channel 14 posted on a building in Jerusalem, Aug. 14, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.
A billboard ad for Channel 14 posted on a building in Jerusalem, Aug. 14, 2023. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.

Israel’s Academy of Film and Television, which awards prestigious annual prizes for TV journalism, has come under fire for excluding war correspondents for right-wing Channel 14 from a list of honorees.

In the wake of Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks and the ensuing war, the Academy decided to honor journalists who risked their lives reporting from the frontlines in southern and northern Israel.

According to Hebrew media, the initial list of nominees included reporters from Israel’s Channel 11Channel 12 and Channel 13, while Channel 14 journalists Adir Lehakim and Ariel Idan were excluded.

Channel 13‘s Almog Boker announced on Monday that he would “give up the award until they include all the television reporters in the north and south who covered the war, including Channel 14 reporters.”

“I saw with my own eyes how Ariel Idan came under fire more than once. Thank you, but no thanks,” tweeted Boker.

Channel 14 military correspondent Hallel Bitton Rosen added, “Ariel Idan entered places under fire at personal risk, Atti Shalev and Adir Lehakim served under an ‘Order 8’ [IDF emergency reserves call-up] and after that did not take a minute off, reporting from the border during exchanges of fire.”

“Champions, we love and appreciate you. You are our award, and the prize of hundreds of thousands of daily viewers,” he wrote.

Responding to the commotion on Monday afternoon, the Academy announced its decision to grant the prize to Idan.

“The Academy wishes to honor the work of all reporters—professionals who worked while risking their lives, out of commitment to the Israeli public and the journalistic profession,” the organization said in a statement.

The Academy also claimed that “Channel 14 was invited to participate in the [award] ceremony from the moment the channel was founded” but failed to respond to several invitations.

Exactly one year ago, Channel 14’s “Main Edition”—Israel’s only conservative news program—overtook Channel 11 and Channel 13 to become the country’s second most popular prime-time news show.

“We’ve seen a rise in the ratings for the past half year,” Lital Shemesh, a popular news anchor with the channel, told JNS at the time.

In August, Channel 14 asked the Israel Competition Authority to investigate possible illegal coordination by major Israeli businesses to drop the station from their advertising budgets in an effort to shutter it.

Several companies have banded together to “break the channel financially” because they disapprove of its right-wing political positions, the station’s owners said, calling it an assault on free speech.

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