(photo credit: COURTESY OF IBA)
While the Jerusalem City Council insists that the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation must be in Jerusalem from day one, the Knesset Economics Committee stands by its Tuesday decision allowing a temporary start outside the city.
However, the committee said the IPBC, now known as Kan (Here), must be in Jerusalem by June 2018. A hefty fine will be imposed for each month the IPBC operates outside the capital.
A penalty of NIS 10 million per month was initially proposed, but the committee finally adopted a suggestion by chairman Eitan Cabel (Zionist Union) for a more gradual approach. The plan imposes a NIS 2m. fine for the first month of delay and increases the penalty by NIS 2m. per month up to a ceiling of NIS 10m.
Under the proposed regulations, fines would not be paid to the Communications Ministry but to the Finance Ministry, which in all probability would later use the money to help the IPBC with its operating budget.
The proposal is awaiting Knesset approval.
The IPBC, which plans to work out of Modi’in at first, has yet to start operations.
It will replace the Israel Broadcasting Authority.
Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Ofir Berkowitz has repeatedly said there is no justification for starting service outside the city, as long as the existing Israel Broadcasting Authority has suitable properties available downtown and in the Romema neighborhood.
Those IBA facilities are sufficient until the new service moves to its permanent location in the Givat Shaul industrial zone, he said.
In an interview on Israel Radio’s Reshet Bet last Wednesday, Yesh Atid chairmen Yair Lapid said his support for the new public broadcaster was based on keeping the IPBC free of political interference. Lapid, a former finance minister, recalled his wholehearted agreement with Gilad Erdan, who was then communications minister. “We must have freedom of expression,” Lapid said, “not just when there’s something positive to say, but also about annoying subjects.”
Politicians do not like being targeted by the media, he said. While Lapid said reports about him have frequently contained inaccuracies, he defended the right of media to criticize politicians, and called such criticism a professional duty.
Actress and entertainer Rivka Michaeli worked for the IBA for 39 years. She blamed low salaries and hard work for corruption there. In an interview published in Haaretz, she said the only way for people to earn a decent salary was to inflate their on-call and overtime hours.
The corruption festered, according to Michaeli, and eventually found its way to the IBA’s upper echelons. Someone at the top must have known and did nothing, she said, expressing hope that control of finances in the new enterprise will be better.