MKs propose Channel 10 produce original content

MKs Nachman Shai (Kadima) and Eitan Cabel (Labor) propose bill in a last-ditch effort to save channel from closure.

nachman shai 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
nachman shai 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
In a last-ditch effort to save Channel 10 from closure, MKs Nachman Shai (Kadima) and Eitan Cabel (Labor) have proposed a bill requiring the channel to use the money it owes the state to produce high-quality, original content.
Channel 10 is likely to close at the end of January, unless an investor or shareholders pay the NIS 60 million in royalties and franchise fees the television station owes the government and the Second Authority for Television and Radio. Last month, the Knesset Economics Committee rejected a motion to delay the channel’s payments.
The legislation, an amendment to the Second Authority for Television and Radio Law, would allow the channel to spend its debt on Israeli-produced programming, instead of paying the Second Authority, which is responsible for Channels 2 and 10.
Shai and Cabel have requested that the legislative process for the bill be accelerated, so that it can be passed before January 27, when Channel 10 is set to be shut down, but have yet to receive an answer from the Knesset House Committee.
Shai, a former television journalist and IDF spokesman, said that closing one of the only two commercial broadcast television channels in Israel would hurt democracy.
“Less media sources means less freedom of the press, and less freedom of the press means less democracy,” he stated.
In addition, advertising prices on Channel 2 would reach a new high, because there is no competition to drive rates down, Shai explained.
He added that it is “mean-spirited” for coalition MKs to have voted against delaying Channel 10’s debt.
“The media isn’t just a business, like any factor,” the Kadima MK stated. “Many intelligent people invest in the media knowing that they may lose money, something they wouldn’t normally do, because of the media’s power.”