C'tee dashes MK’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’ dreams

Knesset Ethics Committee tells Kadima MK Nino Abesadze she may not be a contestant on the popular TV show.

Abesadze 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Abesadze 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
MK Nino Abesadze (Kadima) may have dreamed of being spun around in a sequined gown on popular television program Dancing with the Stars, but her ballroom dancing aspirations were quashed on Wednesday, following a Knesset Ethics Committee decision that MKs may not be contestants on reality TV shows.
The Ethics Committee adopted a document by Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon from earlier this week, which said that it is legally problematic for MKs to sign a contract with a television grantee or to commit to appear regularly on a TV or radio program, or write a regular column for a newspaper, magazine or website.
Yinon’s legal opinion is a response to an inquiry from Abesadze about participating in the competitive ballroom dancing program.
Abesadze, however, remains defiant, saying after Yinon’s opinion was released on Monday that she thinks participating in a popular TV program that is watched by different groups in society will help the public see the Knesset in a positive light. She added that she would examine the consequences of participating in Dancing with the Stars regardless of the decision.
According to Yinon, appearing regularly in a television program is a conflict of interests, and that clear lines must exist between being covered in the media and participating in the media.
The Ethics Committee accepted Yinon’s guidelines for MKs’ appearances on television and in other media.
It is “accepted and legitimate” for MKs to be featured on non-news programs, such as satirical shows, as a part of their way to publicize their stances on current affairs.
However, they may not participate on these shows regularly, nor may they have a contract with producers or any broadcasting body, even if they are not being paid.
Abesadze is not the only MK who will have to rethink his or her plans due to the Ethics Committee decision, in order to avoid punishment for ethics violations. MK Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi), for example, writes a weekly blurb on language for national-religious magazine Motzash.
Orbach, however, says there is no problem with his behavior, explaining that what he writes is not actually a column and has nothing to do with politics. In addition, he is not paid to write for Motzash.