Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi leveled accusations against Kan, Israel's public broadcasting corporation on Wednesday, specifically targeting its Arabic-language channel.
The minister claims that the channel's content and broadcasts have violated legal obligations and severely undermined the public interest it claims to serve. The allegations come amidst growing concern regarding the channel's editorial choices and narratives.
What were the narratives?
Numerous complaints have been raised that Kan's Arabic-language channel had been propagating a misleading Palestinian narrative.
The channel has been accused of featuring incitement and hostility, including calls for young Arab individuals to act against the State of Israel and disregard the Israeli-Palestinian issue, as well as the historical context of land disputes.
One particular incident cited by the minister involved Ziyad Haddad, the deputy director of the broadcasting division within Kan's news department. It was revealed that Haddad instructed channel employees not to refer to Palestinian militants as "terrorists" without prior consultation. This directive raises concerns about the channel's objectivity and adherence to journalistic standards.
Moreover, the minister's accusations extend beyond the specific incident, indicating a more systemic problem with the channel's programming.
It is alleged that Kan's Arabic-language channel regularly showcases displays of the Palestinian flag, including during news segments. Such actions may mislead viewers into believing that the channel is funded or influenced by the Palestinian Authority.
These allegations raised questions about the channel's compliance with its legal obligations as outlined in Section 7b of the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation Law.
The law states that "the content provided by the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation shall be independent, directed to all citizens of the State of Israel and its residents, reflect and document the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, its values and the heritage of Israel, and provide fair, equal and balanced expression to the variety of opinions and views prevailing in the public in Israel."
Additionally, reports have surfaced regarding the mistreatment and marginalization of certain employees at Kan's Arabic-language channel.
Journalists, producers and editors claim that they have experienced a campaign of persecution and humiliation from the channel's new management, primarily due to their refusal to align with the newly introduced anti-Zionist narrative. The employees have expressed concerns about the channel deviating from its role as a neutral and professional broadcaster.
In a letter submitted to the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation's Council, the employees stated: "We, writers, producers and editors in radio, television and digital platforms, are experiencing a journey of persecution and humiliation from the new management."