When Israel's broadcasters shift from a concession system to a license system, broadcasting companies Reshet and Keshet should be forbidden from continuing to own the Channel 2 News Corporation together, the Antitrust Authority said over the weekend.
Antitrust Authority attorney Boaz Gold sent a legal opinion to Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon, who is supposed to rule on the matter before the Knesset Economics Committee meeting scheduled to take place in 10 days.
As part of the reform, planned to take effect in early 2012, Reshet and Keshet are supposed to each get their own separate channels, and to broadcast seven days a week. Currently, each concessionaire gets three or four days. Other companies that also meet the minimum conditions will also be permitted to apply for a license for a regular broadcast schedule.
Lobbyists on both sides have been pressuring Kahlon and other Knesset members over the past few weeks.
The Antitrust Authority doesn't want to see the two companies continue to own the property together even for a single day after the reform goes into effect, Gold wrote. All the players in the field need to be competing, and therefore shouldn't be partnered with the competition, he said.
Since the broadcasters currently split Channel 2, and therefore air their shows at different times, there's no real competition between them in the current format, he said.
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