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Israel's investigative journalists facing increasing obstacles

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Israeli investigative journalism repressed

Investigative journalism is hard enough in a country as small as Israel, and an intensifying onslaught against freedom of the press is endangering it even further.

Conducting a journalistic investigation is like climbing a mountain studded with bear traps. When you finally reach the top, you find the glory all too short-lived. En route you pass lawsuits, embarrassed publishers, boycotts by advertisers. You lose your friends and get threatened with prison. Sometimes you die.

Thus Newsday reporter Bob Greene described the profession back in 1976, and not much has changed since then.

Miki Rosenthal, the Israeli reporter who hosts the Channel 10 investigative journalism show "The Source," says conducting an investigation is like being in a constant battle. "You're up against libel claims, pressure from people with contacts at your network," he says. Why should it be that way? "I didn't volunteer for the commando. I just wanted to be a reporter," he says.

A proper investigation requires extensive effort and a lot of sources, and the subject almost always doesn't want the probe to be published, says Rosenthal, who encountered that sort of thing when investigating the Ofer family business.

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