A protest demonstration by Israel Broadcasting Authority staff that was meant to take place on Sunday outside the Prime Minister’s Office in the capital has been canceled.
The IBA was meant to be closed down by the end of March and replaced by a new public broadcasting entity, in line with legislation passed a year ago, but received an extension till June 30.
However, the establishment of the new public broadcasting service is nowhere near completion, and reports over the past week related to the demise of the IBA have provoked a flurry of protests, including one from President Reuven Rivlin, who said that public broadcasting is the soul of democracy.
Rivlin also declared that the IBA must not be closed down until the new entity is up and running.
Toward the end of last week, following consultations with the Finance Ministry, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – who also holds the Communications portfolio – asked the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee for a three month extension period for the establishment of a new public broadcasting service, which in effect means a three month extension for the IBA.
Following the prime minister’s action, the Jerusalem Journalists Association canceled the protest, as the temporary reprieve has obviated the need for a demonstration.
In the interim, Communications Ministry director- general Shlomo Filber and Finance Ministry budgets director Amir Levi have been assigned to jointly advance the creation of the new entity.
This will include final arrangements for those IBA employees whose employment will be terminated as well as the smooth transfer of those employees who will be the pioneers