(photo credit: COURTESY OF IBA)
Israel Broadcasting Authority journalists voted this week to appeal to the High Court of Justice for the abrogation of the Public Broadcasting Law that calls for the closing down of the body and the establishment of a new public broadcasting service in its stead.
The journalists, who voted at the instigation of Jerusalem Journalists Association chairman Ahia Ginossar – an IBA employee – will also call for the cancellation of the special Knesset committee that will discuss and finalize the amendments to the legislation that were proposed by Ophir Akunis, the minister- without-portfolio in the Communications Ministry.
The Knesset special committee on public broadcasting, headed by Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi, is due to convene on August 3.
Demonstrations will be held outside the homes of Knesset members in protest of the shutting down of the IBA, the journalists decided, and the television screen will be utilized to make the public aware of their plight.
Ginossar, speaking in his JJA capacity, said that the association insists 95 percent of current IBA staff be absorbed into the new public broadcasting service should it be established.
However, a main reason behind the decision to create a new broadcasting service, which is supposed to go to air on April 1, is the need to cut down on manpower and expenditure so as to make public broadcasting more cost-effective and efficient.
In an interview with Israel Radio’s Arye Golan on Thursday morning, Akunis said that he is working around the clock on behalf of IBA employees, and that if it were not for him, the IBA would have closed down already because it had passed the deadline set down in the legislation initiated by former communications minister Gilad Erdan.
Golan pointed out that Eldad Koblentz, who has been tasked to set up the new broadcasting authority, has already appointed 20 people without any supervisory approval, to which Akunis replied that a supervisory council will soon be appointed.
Akunis added that he was relatively certain that many IBA employees would be incorporated into the new venture, and that those urged to take early retirement would only do so with the approval of the Histadrut labor federation.
He declined to specify numbers, but said that everything would be done within the law and with transparency and out of consideration for both the workers and the general public.
Golan also interviewed Meretz MK Ilan Gilon, who opposed the bill for the dissolution of the IBA, and who continues to maintain that the reforms agreed prior to Erdan’s proposal should be the ones to be enforced.