Major IBA shakeup approved

Olmert OKs approved the Dinur Committee recommendations.

Minister of Industry, Trade, and Labor and acting Finance Minister Ehud Olmert, who is also responsible for the country’s broadcasting authority, approved the Dinur Committee’s recommendations for a reform of public broadcasting in Israel Monday. The committee, which was created by the government in March of 2003 and was chaired by Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor director-general Ra’anan Dinur, was asked to propose a reform of the Israeli public broadcasting system. The reform submitted in August included the recommendation to create a public broadcasting council that would be elected by a committee headed by a retired judge and would function as an independent regulator for the Israel Broadcasting Authority, IDF radio, and the Knesset channel. This council, in turn, would both determine the IBA’s budget and elect a public board of director that would elect the director-general of the broadcasting authority, a position currently elected by the government. In addition, the committee recommended that at least 50% of airtime be devoted to local productions, and that all programs other than news, sports, and special productions be produced externally in order to cut costs. Another cost-cutting strategy suggested by the committee was a significant reduction of manpower over the coming year. The committee’s recommendations also include creating an independent, state-supported Arab TV channel.