Gov’t approves appointment of Ben-Menachem at IBA

Ben-Menachem has worked for Israel Radio for nearly 30 years, and has been a reporter, commentator and editor.

September 19, 2011 01:53
1 minute read.
Yoni Ben Menachem

Yoni Ben Menachem_58. (photo credit: Wikipedia)

Following a delay of two months since the recommendation by the plenum of the Israel Broadcasting Authority that veteran broadcaster Yoni Ben-Menachem, be appointed its director-general, the government on Sunday gave its unanimous approval.

Technically, this would give Ben-Menachem the green light to go ahead with projects that have been incorporated into the IBA reforms – for instance a 24-hour trilingual news channel, which has been approved in principle by the IBA plenum, but which is likely to remain on hold due to budgetary constraints.

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Ben-Menachem’s appointment has been a matter of controversy within the corridors of the IBA. While some people are all in favor and say he is a proven professional, others say that he is too close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who is the minister responsible for the implementation of the Broadcasting Authority Law.

Similar charges have been leveled against Michael Miro, who was recently appointed to head Israel Radio. Although strenuous efforts have been made over the years to keep political interference and influence out of the IBA, this is almost impossible considering that under the law there is always a government minister responsible for the IBA, and in this instance it’s the prime minister.

Ben-Menachem’s appointment was delayed a number of weeks following appeals by the Tel Aviv Journalists Association and the Movement for Quality Government.

The Movement for Quality Government turned to Tanya Spanitz, who heads the governmental appointments oversight committee, and asked her to look into Ben-Menachem’s ties to the prime minister. The Spanitz committee approved the appointment.

Ben-Menachem has worked for Israel Radio for nearly 30 years, and has been a reporter, commentator and editor. Among the senior posts he held there were diplomatic correspondent, and director of Israel Radio from 2003 to 2008.

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