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IBA: Media department heads can’t host shows
By GREER FAY CASHMAN
16/12/2012
Israel Broadcast Authority ethics committee decides that heads of media departments cannot host regular programs on TV, radio.
 
The political arena does not have a monopoly on quarrels and uproars.

There have been several media upheavals in recent weeks, with more on the way. The most recent ruction pertains not only to the mass dismissal of Channel 10 personnel and the possible closure of the channel at the end of the year, but also to the axing of media department heads at the Israel Broadcasting Authority as regular program hosts.

The IBA ethics committee, headed by retired judge Dr. Bilha Cahana, unanimously decided that neither the director-general of the IBA nor any of the heads of media departments can host programs on radio or television on a regular basis.

The decision will today be presented to the IBA plenum for ratification.

The amended IBA law, which is due to go into effect in the near future, forbids the authority’s director-general from being a permanent anchor of any regular program, though he or she may appear on various programs from time to time in accordance with the approval of the IBA council, which under the new legislation will replace the IBA plenum.

The new legislation specifies that there must be some distance between management and workers in order for management to function as it should.

A clause in the legislation explains that if a member of upper management is also a presenter, that person cannot give proper attention to supervising the content and budget of all programs, the suitability of interviewees and the possible conflicts of interest, along with other issues relevant to his or her position. It is understood, the legislation goes on to state, that when a person is appointed to a certain position, that person leaves all other roles behind.

The people hardest hit by the new edict will be IBA directorgeneral Yoni Ben-Menachem, who hosts a regular political program on Israeli-Arab relations on Israel Radio’s Reshet Bet, and Michael Miro, the head of Israel Radio, who for years has been hosting a radio program on environmental issues calledEn Route to Nature.

For Ben-Menachem, it may not be so difficult, in that his input in the program is to ask questions without offering opinions, whereas Miro uses his program as a personal soap box and almost invariably tells his interviewees what they should be doing to affect change.

Other media heads who present programs only occasionally in rotation with other broadcasters may not be affected, but the final decision as to whether or not they will be allowed on screen or behind the microphone is up to the incoming IBA council.
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