Gov't seek way to keep Channel 10 alive

By
January 16, 2012 02:36

PM instructs Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman to postpone a Ministerial Committee on Legislation vote on the issue.

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Channel 10 logo

Channel 10 logo_311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The government will discuss ways to prevent Channel 10’s expected closure at the end of the month, as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu instructed Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman to postpone a Ministerial Committee on Legislation vote on the issue on Sunday.

A bill submitted by opposition MKs Nachman Shai (Kadima) and Eitan Cabel (Labor), which was meant to save the channel, was frozen for two weeks, allowing the government to find its own solution, so the country is not left with a single commercial-broadcast television station.

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Shai and Cabel proposed that Channel 10 be able to spend the NIS 60 million it owes in royalties and franchise fees, on Israeli-produced programming, instead of paying the Second Authority for Television and Radio, which is responsible for Channels 2 and 10.

However, the Finance Ministry opposes the legislation, for fear of setting a precedent for Channel 2 production company Reshet, which owes NIS 23m. to the Second Authority.

Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon said the government must make sure Channel 10 does not shut down, adding that closing a television station would contravene Likud values.

Thousands of families would be harmed because of lost jobs if the channel shut down, he said.

Ya’alon also said that if Channel 10 stops broadcasting during a Likud government’s tenure, it would be remembered as a “blatant and inappropriate political act” that harmed democracy and transparency.

Opposition MKs have accused Netanyahu of trying to force Channel 10 to close for political reasons, because the prime minister is suing the station’s news program and reporter Raviv Drucker for libel due to a report on foreign donors’ funding of flights abroad.

Shai said the fact that the government is discussing Channel 10 is a victory, because it had not done so before.

The government understood it cannot tighten it belt so much that the television station is unable to survive, he added.


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