A critical-historical description and analysis of the development of the laws regulating electioneering in broadcasting and their interpretation by policymakers and courts over a period of nearly fifty years in Israel demonstrates how the conceptual basis for the regulation scheme originally offered by the law as early as 1959 has been turned on its head. The result is a chaotic system in which the rules of, and the borderline between, the permissible and the forbidden are unclear. While the forbidden is perceived as dead letter, the permitted seems at times to be unrestricted, perhaps because the theory behind it makes it unenforceable. At the same time, there is growing skepticism about the efficacy of the electoral campaigning system as a whole, fostering extreme proposals for reform including proposals to abolish regulation. This study offers an alternative approach, based on a different theory of speech, a theory of transparent speech.
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