Labor MK Proposes Legislation to Rescue Israel's Channel 10

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Labor MK Eitan Cabel, July 30, 2014.Credit: Oren Nahshon

Israel’s Channel 10 television, which has effectively been blacked out since Sunday night by its employees, may be given a new lease on life under legislation being introduced by MK Eitan Cabel (Labor) that would extend its broadcasting license for two years while it seeks to recruit new investors.

The legislation, which quickly won the backing of Labor Party chairman Isaac Herzog, came after the broadcaster went off the air, with employees accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of failing to work toward a solution that would ensure it can continue operations.

Channel 10 has received two-year license extensions before, which kept it from going out of business in the past.

Because the Knesset has been dispersed for the general election, only legislation sponsored by the government can be introduced. Cabel said he hoped Netanyahu would back his bill.

Meanwhile, Channel 10 is broadcasting only an appeal: a photograph of the prime minister, accompanied by the statement “The solution is in your hands.”

On Sunday the Second Authority for Television and Radio, which regulates commercial broadcasters, said it would seize the 36 million shekels ($9.16 million) in bank guarantees Channel 10 had posted as a condition for its previous license. The decision effectively means Channel 10 will close if it cannot come up with the necessary funds in time.

“As long as the channel cannot cover its debts from the period of its licensure, which have risen to tens of millions of shekels, there is no possibility, legally or publicly, to convene the Second Authority council to discuss the channel’s request for a license,” the authority said.

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