IBA Workers Threaten to Disrupt World Cup Broadcasts

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The Israel Broadcasting Authority headquarters in Jerusalem. A new corporation was meant to replace it.
The Israel Broadcasting Authority headquarters in Jerusalem. A new corporation was meant to replace it. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum / BauBau

Employees of the Israel Broadcasting Authority are considering disrupting the broadcasts of the World Cup in June in protest against Communications Minister Gilad Erdan’s plans to close the IBA and open a new public broadcasting organization.

IBA employees have met in recent days to discuss steps against the shut-down, and raised the possibility of preventing the broadcasts of the games as one of the responses.

The bill on closing the IBA was approved in its preliminary vote by the Knesset on Monday, and in response IBA workers, including Channel 1 and Israel Radio employees — stopped all broadcasts starting 4 P.M. Monday afternoon, including coverage of the pope’s visit.

Channel 1 has the rights to broadcast the World Cup in Israel, except for 11 games over which it sold the rights to Channel 2 franchisee Reshet and the Sports Channel. These broadcasts may also be blacked out if the IBA employees decide to strike.

Two weeks ago the cabinet approved closing down the IBA and replacing it. The next battle will be over which committee hears the bill.

Opponents of the law want the Economic Affairs Committee to hold the hearings, as it is controlled by the opposition and its chairman is MK Avishay Braverman (Labor).

Erdan wants the bill prepared by the joint subcommittee of the Finance and Economic Affairs committees, which has dealt with IBA matters so far, and is headed by Yesh Atid.

Erdan wants to complete the legislative process on the law by the summer recess, and start the process of dismantling the IBA as soon as possible to meet the deadline he set of March 2015.

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