New bill seeks to limit free newspapers

Legislation targets Israel Hayom and is rumored to be the initiative of Yedioth Ahronoth’s owner

A woman reads the free daily Israel Hayom. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
A woman reads the free daily Israel Hayom. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

A new bill proposed in the Knesset on Wednesday seeks to limit the distribution of free newspapers, and appears to target Sheldon Adelson’s Israel Hayom.

The bill, introduced by six MKs from different parties, aims to promote “true and fair competition between newspapers.” It mandates that among the four Israeli dailies with the highest circulations, the cheapest of the four cannot be sold for less than 70% of the cost of the second-cheapest paper.

The legislation, which would also ban the distribution of free newspapers for more than a six-month period, was proposed by MKs Eitan Cabel (Labor), Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beytenu), Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), Elazar Stern (Hatnua), Ariel Atias (Shas) and Yoel Razvozov (Yesh Atid).

Israel Hayom has faced criticism for being a mouthpiece for the Netanyahu administration.

“The result of free newspapers is that every wealthy person can influence public opinion in Israel,” Cabel said.

The prime minister is expected to act to prevent the bill, rumored to be the initiative of Yedioth Ahronoth owner Arnon Mozes, from passing.

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