PM dreams of 24-hour,multi-language news network

States-sponsored network to broadcast in Hebrew, English, Arabic

July 13, 2010 05:56
1 minute read.
Netanyahu arrives at Monday's cabinet meeting in J

Netanyahu arrives at cabinet meeting 311. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu shared his dream to establish a state-sponsored international news network with members of the Knesset’s State Control Committee Monday, when he arrived to testify before the committee regarding the controversial reform of the Israel Broadcasting Authority.

Netanyahu spoke to the committee not as prime minister, but in connection with another portfolio he holds as minister in charge of the IBA.

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Netanyahu searched throughout his comments for the proper adjective to describe the IBA, trying Hebrew accented versions of “oxymoron” and “archaic” to capture his understanding of national broadcasting organizations. The very notion of broadcasting, he said, is constantly shifting more and more to embrace new media.

The prime minister’s vision for the IBA includes separate round-the-clock news channels broadcasting in Hebrew, English and Arabic.

“We have a great resource in our ability to broadcast around the clock, but we do not actualize it,” Netanyahu complained.

He went on to speak at length regarding the virtues of France 24, a channel that broadcasts news from a French perspective directed at international audiences and does, according to Netanyahu, “a great service to France.”

“A channel such as this could give a great push toward improving Israeli advocacy,” said Netanyahu.

He did not, however, mention one of Israel’s potential rivals on the international television scene, Iranian government- run Press TV.

Netanyahu also addressed the rocky road that would be traversed by the troubled public media organization en route to his dream.

“We need to start speaking about production rather than broadcasting,” he explained.

Committee Chairman MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) concluded that the committee agreed that the reform in the IBA must be advanced quickly, to ensure that public broadcasting fulfills its purpose.

Hasson said that the committee noted that the prime minister had promised to present his plan for a reform of the IBA, even as the IBA management seeks to find a solution to continuing labor disputes involving its technicians.

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