Mutual Bonds: Media Frames and the Israeli High Court of Justice
Bar-Ilan University - Interdisciplinary Department of Social Studies
College of Management (Israel) - School of Law
Law & Social Inquiry, Vol. 33, No. 1, pp. 53-88, 2008
This study examines the coverage of the Supreme Court of Israel functioning as the High Court of Justice (HCJ) in the popular and elite press over a period marked by growing activism of the Israeli Supreme Court and an increasingly adversarial and critical media. Our results show that more prominent coverage of the HCJ over time, especially in the elite press, accentuates the salience of the Supreme Court in public life. In addition, the topics, the stages of the HCJ proceedings, the petitioners, and the outcome of the cases covered by the press, as well as the generally uncritical reporting of the Court decisions help create the frame of an autonomous, powerful Court that frequently opposes and restrains the government. We suggest that the pattern of media coverage of the HCJ benefits both the Court and the media: it reinforces the image of the media as a critical watchdog of the government, while at the same time it legitimates the Court's expansion of power and strengthens its image as an apolitical and independent institution.
Keywords: media coverage, high courts, public legitimacy
Date posted: July 19, 2008 ; Last revised: August 4, 2008
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