(photo credit: Courtesy)
The last of the collective agreements among the Finance Ministry, Israel
Broadcasting Authority, Histadrut and union representatives within the IBA, was
signed on Thursday night. The agreement will increasingly clear the way
for IBA reforms – and the massive downsizing of its payroll.
IBA’s Arabic Internet site attracts readers across Mideast
IBA finally completes wage agreements enabling reforms
remains before the implementation of the reforms is the passing of amendments to
the Broadcasting Authority Law – which have already passed their first
At a general meeting of the Jerusalem Journalists Association
last week, people at the lowest end of the wage scale were told that their
salaries would improve. However some of these same people are also on the list
for dismissals, which would only improve their severance pay.
It was also
noted that the amended IBA Law will be worse than the existing one.
the same time the JJA was meeting, veteran, prize-winning producer and director
Doron Tzabar – who made the documentary “A Guide to Revolution,” which deals
with the politicization of the IBA – was addressing students at Netanya Academic
Tzabari, who for years has waged a battle against the
politicization of the IBA, said that the new law would force IBA broadcasters to
serve the interests of the government more than the interests of the
According to Tzabari, there is an opinion-making network in
Israel that constantly succeeds in hoodwinking the public.
Tzabari claimed in Israel there is no such thing as genuine public broadcasting
– even though the public broadcasting network is supposed to act as the public’s
Tzabari said the media has become so obsessed with ratings,
that it has forgotten what its role should be.
On the other hand, IBA
Director-General Moti Sklaar defended the rights of all journalists –
irrespective of their religious or political orientation – to act in accordance
with their conscience.
Sklaar, who has been attacked for allowing too
much strident, left-wing opinion on Israel Radio, said he never specifically
tells broadcasters what to say – and gave examples of broadcasters identified
with the right, who have equal freedom.
Still, his critics contend that
the views of the national religious sector are not sufficiently
In a different matter, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,
who is the minister responsible for the implementation of the Broadcasting
Authority Law, tried to easeout the Draconian law that forces everyone with a
radio or television to pay a licensing fee. Revenues raised from the fees go
into the IBA’s coffers.
The public sees no reason why it should pay a
levy that benefits the IBA – especially since Israel Radio has revenue from
commercials, and television from sponsorships.
For a period, Netanyahu
was able to reduce the levy, and said he hoped to abolish it. But now the issue
of the levy is being reversed – and in all probability, will be higher than it
was before Netanyahu stepped in.
Meanwhile, several hundred people
employed by the IBA are waiting to see if and when the axe will fall, forcing
them to join the ranks of the unemployed.