Barkat petitions High Court against proposal to launch new public broadcasting network in Modi'in

Barkat and Knesset lobby want the new network to be established in Jerusalem.

May 16, 2016 14:23
1 minute read.
Nir Barkat

Jerusale mayor Nir Barkat announces he has registered to the Likud party in video message. (photo credit: screenshot)

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, together with members of the Knesset Lobby for Jerusalem, petitioned the High Court of Justice on Sunday to prevent the new public broadcasting entity scheduled to replace the Israel Broadcasting Authority in October from becoming operational outside the capital.

Five members of the lobby sent a similar request last week to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also functions as Communications Minister.

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The Knesset group is headed by Zionist Union MK Nachman Shai, a former chairman of the IBA.

While the decision to name the new public broadcasting entity the “Israel Broadcasting Corporation in Modi’in” was designed as a temporary measure on the excuse that suitable premises had not been found in Jerusalem, Barkat and Knesset lobby members Erel Margalit (Zionist Union), Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid), Hilik Bar (Zionist Union) and Moti Yogev (Bayit Yehudi) are fearful that what starts out as temporary might become permanent.

In light of the construction flux in Jerusalem, which affects not only residential complexes, but factories and commercial premises, the petitioners won’t accept the excuse that there is no suitable building in Jerusalem to house the new entity. Their petition requests that the court issue an interim injunction to halt efforts to set it up in Modi’in, and ensure its establishment in Jerusalem, in accordance with the public broadcasting law passed by the Knesset.

The petitioners note that hundreds of Jerusalemites who are part of the proposed workforce of the yet-to-be established IBC have no desire to work in Modi’in and could lose their jobs. Shai has called the decision to override the Knesset and begin operations in Modi’in an outrage.

Barkat was instrumental in bringing Channel 10’s news division to Jerusalem, where it broadcasts from Jerusalem Capital Studios, home base for numerous Israeli and foreign media outlets, including The Jerusalem Post.

According to Barkat, having the Voice of Israel headquartered and broadcasting from outside of Jerusalem would damage the status of the city as Israel’s capital.

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