Channel 10 logo_311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Knesset Economics Committee rejected on Monday morning a proposal by MK Nino
Abesadze (Kadima) to delay Channel 10 debt payments, meaning that the station is
likely to shut down next month.
RELATED:Channel 10 request to delay debt repayment rejected
The television station owes NIS 60
million in royalties and franchise fees, which the committee decided the
government should not help pay.
As such, the channel is set to close in
late January unless an investor or shareholders Ron Lauder and Arnon Milchin pay
A vote on the debt payments had already been delayed once
before, last month, to give Channel 10 more time to find a compromise on the
Abesadze’s initiative was rejected after eight coalition members
from Likud, Israel Beiteinu, United Torah Judaism and Shas voted against it,
while five MKs from Kadima and Labor voted in favor of postponing Channel 10’s
“You’ll blame the shareholders and we blame you, but in
the end, Channel 10 will close,” the station’s CEO Yossi Varshavsky said before
He added that should the committee vote against delaying the
payment, he will have to recommend to Channel 10’s shareholders to stop
MK Carmel Shama-Hacohen expressed concern about closing
Channel 10 and creating a monopoly on television news, however he said there was
no choice other than to reject another delay in payments.
At the same
time, the Economics Committee chairman pointed out that “Channel 10, as a
financially weak company that will require government support, cannot be the
watchdog of democracy. At best, it would be a poodle.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of ordering Channel 10’s closure for “blatant”
personal and political reasons, and said that he is sending families to live in
the streets because hundreds of people will lose their jobs.
chairwoman MK Shelly Yacimovich said that the coalition’s determination in
today’s vote to close Channel 10 demonstrated that it was not driven by
impartial motives, and that the move was a blatant attempt to get rid of a TV
station that did not kowtow to the regime.
Netanyahu and his wife, Sara,
are suing Channel 10 and two of its reporters, Raviv Druker and Mickey
Rosenthal, for libel, following a broadcast earlier this year of allegations
that Netanyahu billed two organizations for flights the couple took in 2006.