Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doubles as Israel's communications minister, putting him in an interesting position after this week's media scandal.

If you want to be a print journalist in Israel, you really don't have a lot of places to go. And that is a sad thing.

Anat Balint, writer, Seventh Eye

Leaked audio tapes - recorded from meetings in 2014 - have allegedly revealed how Netanyahu tried to negotiate a deal with Arnon Mozes, the owner of the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, and a man Netanyahu has repeatedly called his media nemesis.

The extra twist in the tale is that Netanyahu was seemingly willing to sell out Israel Hayom, the newspaper that has been most favourable towards him.

On the tape, Netanyahu suggests that if Mozes and his paper cover him more favourably, his government could find ways of limiting Israel Hayom's distribution - which would be good for Mozes' paper.  

Netanyahu's fraught relationship with the media in Israel is not a new story, however.

Throughout his three decades in Israeli politics, Netanyahu's controversial "victim" role in his dealings with the media has always rubbed journalists the wrong way. 

"Netanyahu is obsessed over media for many years. And he has a very strong perception on how media should look like. Because of that, he took the position of minister of communication. Because of that, he forced all his coalition partners that only what he decides will happen in the in the field of media. And he's really obsessed and determined to implement these changes in media in Israel, in order that he will have a larger share of voice and much less strong and independent journalism," says Rottem Danon, editor-in-chief of Liberal magazine.

Israel Hayom, owned by American casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, is a relentlessly pro-Netanyahu publication. When a new piece of legislation came before the Knesset aiming to outlaw money-losing newspapers with political agendas - like Israel Hayom - as threats to Israel's democracy, Netanyahu called a snap election that ensured the legislation wasn't passed. 

"For Netanyahu, it was a threat for his political life. Just don't touch Israel Hayom. That's basically Netanyahu's logic," says Anat Balint, writer for Seventh Eye, an independent investigative Israeli magazine. 

So what do the leaked tape and the contradiction of Netanyahu's vision and actions mean for the state of Israel's media?  

Talking us through the story: Anat Balint, writer, Seventh Eye; Rafi Mann, associate professor, School of Communication, Ariel University; Anshel Pfeffer, writer, Haaretz; Rottem Danon, editor-in-chief, Liberal.

Source: Al Jazeera