The Israel Press Council on Monday ruled that the daily Yedioth Ahronoth may continue publishing Yair Lapid's column in its weekend magazine "7 Days." The council however instructed the newspaper to state at the head of the column that the writer is a party leader.
The council's ruling followed a petition filed by attorney Pini Fischler a few weeks ago, arguing that once Lapid, until recently a television personality and journalist, entered politics, publishing his weekly column constituted an ethical offense and a conflict of interests.
But the Press Council's tribunal ruled that the column "has been appearing regularly for many years and has no clear political bent."
"Since this is a personal column in a known format the risk of conflict of interests and deceiving the public is diminished," the ruling states.
Lapid and Yedioth Ahronoth's representatives were absent from the hearings.
A newspaper official said in response "the ruling is a huge victory for Yair Lapid and Yedioth Ahronoth. Despite all the arguments, the council ruled that the column will continue to be published as usual."
Lapid did not comment on the ruling.
Fischler said "the ruling says Lapid and the newspaper must show the readers he is a party chairman. Since this is a fundamental issue we may appeal against the council's ruling. I also think journalists should [join this cause]."
The Press Council said: "The ethics tribunal heard the complaint, after both sides chose not to appear before it. The decision was conveyed to both parties."
Lapid's entering politics while continuing to publish a weekly column had raised a controversy.