IBA seeking a vision

State’s broadcasting authority gathers in media professionals to talk about transforming into "public" network.

Amir Gilat 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Amir Gilat 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In an attempt to adopt a new vision for the about-to-be- reformed Israel Broadcasting Authority, IBA chairman Amir Gilat on Wednesday launched a series of meetings between think tanks, bringing together past and present representatives of the IBA, members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), and of the BBC.
Several former IBA talents – such as Yitzhak Livni, Shalom Kittal, Yohanan Tsangan, Yair Stern and Gilad Adin – who went on to other media outlets, where they created new norms and standards in Israel’s electronic media world, were also among the participants.
They were invited because they were in a position to make the comparison between the IBA and commercial outlets, where they had been given opportunities that they could only dream about when they were on the IBA payroll.
The EBU was represented by its director-general, Ingrid Deltenre, who spoke of the challenges confronting public broadcasting in the 21st century, and emphasized that people are hungry for change – though she couldn’t quite spell out what that change should be.
BBC International News chief Peter Horrocks shared the BBC’s teamwork philosophy that had brought about a revolution in broadcasting in the UK.
Issues discussed by all the participants included the defining of vision; deciding on what the IBA wants to be; determining who it wants to attract and how to reach them; the significance of the word “public” in relation to broadcasting; the conflict in trying to present an Israeli consensus to a multicultural society; and commonalities and contrasts between public broadcasting and other media, specifically in relation to the Broadcasting Authority Law.
Channel 1’s David Vitsum, who moderated the discussion, said that up until now, the vision of the IBA was more or less that of the state.
Nowadays, he continued, the vision of the IBA is moving in a slightly different direction toward self realization and is transforming itself from a state broadcasting network to a public broadcasting network.
Gilat has made it clear that he does not intend for these meetings to be limited to the broadcasting elite, but to be open to all the employees of the IBA – albeit not in one fell swoop. He also wants to have the input of the IBA plenum and the executive board.