Knesset panel requires cable, satellite TV companies to carry local news channels

HOT, Yes will be asked to pay a combined NIS 5 million a year.

February 3, 2014 19:07
1 minute read.
Watching news of bin Laden's death on TV

Watching news of bin Laden's death on TV 311 (R). (photo credit: MOHAMMED SALEM/REUTERS)

The Knesset Economic Affairs Committee on Monday approved a bill that would require cable and satellite television providers HOT and Yes to pay a combined NIS 5 million a year to carry local news channels.

The bill, which must still pass a second and third reading in Knesset before becoming law, would institute the fee on a temporary basis for two years.

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If passed, it would go into effect as of April 22, 2014, and HOT and Yes will split the NIS 5 million fee in proportion with the number of subscribers each has.

The NIS 5 million price tag is considerably lower than that proposed by Labor MKs Merav Michaeli and Itzik Shmuli, who said the companies should foot an NIS 18 million bill instead.

HOT CEO Hertzel Ozer shot back that the companies had agreed to NIS 5 million a year, but would take the decision to court if the committee pursued the higher amount.

The workers' union objected to the decrease, saying the companies had originally agreed to take on local workers in negotiations over reducing the fees, but had reneged on their position.

The committee ultimately rejected amendments to up the amount.

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