(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Journalists at the Israel Broadcasting Authority are concerned about recent
reports in the financial daily Globes to the effect that various media bodies
are encroaching on their territory and are attempting to take over the news
broadcasts on Channel 1 and Israel Radio.
According to Globes, the IBA
management has been approached by the HOT cable television company to produce
the six local IBA newscasts that are currently broadcast via cable and satellite
on the community channel (98).
Various regional radio networks and
private production companies have also expressed interest in producing
This is not the first time that HOT has made an overture of this
kind to the IBA. The journalists’ union at the IBA has sent an urgent letter to
the authority’s director-general, Motti Sklar, urging him not to take any action
on the matter before a final agreement is signed over IBA reforms.
production crews, in addition to the journalists, feel threatened by the
developments. If HOT or any other external enterprise takes over the production
of the local news, that company or individual will use their own production
teams and not those of the IBA. The number of IBA employees who could lose their
jobs under such circumstances has most likely not been included in the estimated
number of lay-offs calculated for purposes of the reform.
is torn between cost efficiency and further erosion in its relations with
The annual cost of producing the six local news programs is NIS 25
million, a sum which weighs heavily on the IBA budget, that for years, has been
in increasingly gaping deficit.
It is anticipated that the signing of the
final document paving the way for the long overdue IBA reforms will take
some time in August, but before that happens, the journalists want
assurance that he will not sign any agreements with outside production
If he chooses to ignore the request, he may find himself back
to square one as all agreements leading to the signing of the final
could be cancelled, and the talks between management, the Treasury, the
Histadrut, the Jerusalem Journalists Association and elected
the various branches of the IBA staff, could prove worthless.
the appointment of a new IBA plenum and board of management, coupled
enthusiasm of recently appointed chairman Amir Gilat, who comes prepared
on new challenges, may herald a fresh wind of change.