Public pressure may save IBA's English news

Sources say massive protest by English speakers against threatened cuts to IBA radio and television made an impact.

iba news video 88 (photo credit: )
iba news video 88
(photo credit: )
The Israel Broadcast Authority's management committee is likely to find a way to retain foreign-language news broadcasts when it convenes in Jerusalem on Monday, IBA sources said on Sunday. The meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. at IBA headquarters on Jaffa Road, is closed to the public. The sources said the massive protest by English speakers against the threatened cuts to IBA radio and television had made an impact. Copies of Sunday's Jerusalem Post Page 1 article on readers around the world demanding that the English news be saved were pasted all over IBA buildings in Romema and on Rehov Heleni Hamalka. The Post's on-line petition at against the planned closure also elicited a huge public response, with more than 400 readers sending comments protesting the planned axing of the English news broadcasts. Regardless of the decisions taken Monday by the Israel Broadcasting Authority's management committee regarding the slashing of cultural programs and foreign news programs on Israel Radio and Israel Television, Israel Radio has received a reprieve of sorts from the European Broadcasting Union. Among the participants at Israel's first radio stations conference in Haifa last week was Raina Konstantinova, the director of EBU Radio, who had been invited by Amnon Shiloni, the chairman of the conference's steering committee and the head of Reshet Gimmel. On the day following the conference, Konstantinova met with Israel Radio chief Yoni Ben-Menachem, Shiloni, the head of Radio 88FM and Avi Hanani, who heads the Voice of Music. In view of the dire situation in which Israel Radio finds itself, it was decided at the meeting to renew the relationship between Israel Radio and the EBU to facilitate the exchange of programs, thus enabling Israel Radio to continue broadcasting high quality classic, jazz and pop concerts that it receives gratis from the EBU in return for which it will send the EBU programs in the same categories recorded in Israel. All present agreed on the importance of having Israel's cultural programs broadcast abroad as part of the effort to promote a more positive image of Israel. At the same time, the Israelis expressed appreciation to Konstantinova for her goodwill in making programs available that would enhance the image of public radio in Israel. Ben-Menachem appointed Shiloni as liaison between Israel Radio and the EBU to ensure the smooth flow of programs in both directions.