Communications Minister stops Israeli right-wing channel’s shutdown

Will Communications Minister Ayoub Kara not just successfully prevent Channel 20 from shutting down, but also change policies to allow the right-wing channel to broadcast news?

 On air warning light lit up. (Illustrative) (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
On air warning light lit up. (Illustrative)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Channel 20 will stay on the air, after Communications Minister Ayoub Kara intervened Thursday night to stop the regulator from shutting it down.
“I thank the Cable Authority that accepted my stance and allowed Channel 20 to continue to broadcast,” Kara said. “I will visit the channel on Monday to promote legislation that will allow it to get permanent authorization to broadcast news.”
Cable and Satellite Authority chairwoman Dr. Yifat Ben Chai-Segev recommended foreclosing on the right-wing station’s NIS 4 million guarantees because it violated its license. According to the law, this step – never before taken – comes before shuttering the channel.
Kara, however, spoke out against the move, saying that “everyone has freedom of expression, not just the Left. We can’t just leave left-wing channels open and not the Right,” he said. “There are problems with the conditions of the license and they will be dealt with according to law... We’ll make sure all the channels live together in harmony.”
According to the license, 75% of Channel 20’s content is supposed to be “heritage,” meaning Jewish. The remaining 25% is for current events, including one hour of prime time.
Since going on the air in June 2014, Channel 20 has each day dedicated hours to current events reporting and commentary from a right-wing position and featured prominent right-wing pundits like Erel Segal and Shimon Riklin. It has a nightly news show and was the only channel to interview Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his recent visit to Sochi, Russia, even though its license prohibits it from broadcasting news.
Several high-profile right-wing politicians came out against the station’s closure, including President Reuven Rivlin, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Education Minister Naftali Bennett.