TA journalists lose petition against choice for IBA chief

The High Court of Justice on Thursday unanimously rejected a petition by the Tel Aviv Journalists Association against the appointment.

IBA logo 311 (photo credit: Courtesy of IBA)
IBA logo 311
(photo credit: Courtesy of IBA)
The High Court of Justice on Thursday unanimously rejected a petition by the Tel Aviv Journalists Association against the appointment of Yoni Ben-Menachem as the director-general of the Israel Broadcasting Authority.
Ever since his appointment was announced in July, and approved by the government in September, objections against Ben-Menachem have been voiced by individual journalists as well as by the journalists’ union.
Although Ben-Menachem is a veteran and highly respected radio and television journalist, many of his colleagues believe that he enjoys a special relationship with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and that his appointment was politically motivated.
Some also claimed that Ben-Menachem did not have the educational qualifications to serve as IBA director-general.
The court found no evidence that the appointments committee was of a political nature or that the prime minister had intervened in the appointments process.
The court took note of Ben-Menachem’s extensive radio and television experience and the various positions that he has held at the IBA and found him to be well qualified for the position of director-general.
Ben-Menachem said that he hoped that all the forces both inside and outside the IBA who worked against him would re-channel their energies and work for the benefit of the IBA and public broadcasting.
IBA chairman Amir Gilat was also pleased with the verdict, saying that it vindicated the integrity of the appointments committee.
In another development, IBA spokeswoman Linda Bar issued a statement denying all rumors that Keren Neubach, who anchors Reshet Bet radio’s Seder Yom (“Agenda”) morning program is to be replaced by Channel 1’s political reporter and Friday night anchor Ayala Hasson.
Neubach was removed from anchoring the Mabat Sheni (“Second Look”) program on Channel 1, on the grounds that she is not telegenic. Although this is a matter of opinion, one of Bar’s assistants was emphatic that Neubach will not be dismissed from the IBA and that her position at Israel Radio is secure. The IBA wants to introduce new faces to the small screen, he said, and that was the main reason that Neubach was being replaced on Mabat Sheni.
However, other people within the IBA have said that Neubach has been too aggressive in attacking government inaction and injustice on social welfare issues and that her position is now precarious.
Neubach has adopted a softer tone in recent weeks, but she has not abandoned her principles.