The Listening Post

Secret talks and backroom deals: Netanyahu’s media manipulations

Benjamin Netanyahu’s murky dealings with media outlets. Plus, colonial-era media laws in use across sub-Saharan Africa.

On The Listening Post this week: Benjamin Netanyahu’s murky dealings with media outlets are at the heart of the case to indict him. Plus, colonial-era media laws in use across sub-Saharan Africa.

Netanyahu’s media manipulations

There’s a corruption case in Israel that centres on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s attempts to control the media, a story that also exposes the degree to which certain Israeli news outlets are willing to sell out their coverage.

Elections are just weeks away and Netanyahu is looking at charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

The prime minister is using the fake news defence, calling the case a witch-hunt cooked up by political rivals and their friends in the media.

It’s a line Netanyahu has used before but the victim narrative is starting to sound a little unconvincing.


Oren Persico – Writer, The Seventh Eye
Shimon Riklin – Political correspondent, Channel 20
Gali Ginatt – Former reporter, Walla! & Investigative reporter, Channel 13
Nomi Levitzki – Former senior journalist, Yedioth Ahronoth
Tal Schneider – Correspondent, Globes

On our radar

Richard Gizbert speaks to producer Flo Phillips about the release of Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as Shawkan, after five years in prison; and in Croatia, hundreds of journalists took to the streets of Zagreb to protest against the more than 1,000 lawsuits being filed against them.

The colonial-era laws that still govern African journalism

A media story whose roots date back to the late 19th century. European powers were setting sail for Africa, sweeping across the continent, colonising country after country.

Once they took power, they wrote laws designed to ensure that the colonised would not rise up against the colonisers. Laws that could also be used to silence, censor, jail or intimidate journalists who refused to toe the line.

Come the late 1950s, Africans began revolting and over the next decade or two, most countries would win their independence. However, much of the colonial legislation remained in place and there is now a growing list of journalists in sub-Saharan Africa falling afoul of those laws.

The Listening Post‘s Nic Muirhead explores the colonial-era laws that still determine what can and cannot be reported in sub-Saharan Africa.


Outsa Mokone – Editor, Sunday Standard
Sethunya Tshepho Mosime – Lecturer, University of Botswana
Angela Quintal – Africa Programme coordinator, CPJ
Vuyisile Hlatshwayo – Director, Media Institute of Southern Africa