MK Nachman Shai: Government should consider helping Channel 10

Station's majority stockholder says he will withdraw his financial support next month.

channel 10 logo 88 (photo credit: )
channel 10 logo 88
(photo credit: )
MK Nachman Shai (Kadima) recommended Monday that the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee discuss the possibility of providing government aid to Channel 10. Shai's proposal came after Yossi Meiman, the station's majority stockholder, announced in the morning that he will withdraw his financial support next month. Speaking at a media conference arranged by the Globes business daily, Maiman said the decision was shared by partners Arnon Milchan, Ron Lauder and Rupert Murdoch. "My shoulders are just not broad enough," Maiman said. Maiman's move puts the station in danger of going under, Shai told The Jerusalem Post. "Unfortunately my projection is that they won't survive," he told a press conference. "It's in the interest of every Israeli that we keep it." Channel 10 CEO Yossi Varshavsky said in a statement that if no immediate solution is found to the station's financial troubles, it will not be able to continue broadcasting for much longer. Varshavsky convened an emergency meeting on Monday, in which he warned of the dangers of having only one commercial TV station (Channel 2). He also called on Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon, both from the Likud, to "get into a room and not leave till a solution is found" to allocate funding for the channel. The station has been struggling financially since it began broadcasting in January 2002 and there was talk in the past of selling the station and turning it over to new management. Losing Channel 10 would restrict the marketplace of ideas and Israelis' ability to understand and discuss all opinions and positions, Shai said. "Pluralism in the communication media in Israel is very important," said Shlomo Boussibon, a spokesman for Shai. "Removing Channel 10 from the environment would leave the Second Authority for Television and Radio [which regulates Channels 2 and 10] without any competition. Channel 2 would be the only one."