Channel 10 Granted Last-minute Lifeline

The council of the Second Television and Radio Authority votes for extension of license, following a formal opinion issued by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein that authorized the council to extend the license, which had been due to expire this Friday.

Emilie Grunzweig
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Emilie Grunzweig

The Channel 10 television station, which had been threatened with closure this month after amassing NIS 60 million in unpaid fees to the government, had its license extended until the end of the year Monday. The council of the Second Television and Radio Authority, which regulates commercial broadcasts in Israel, voted for the extension by a unanimous vote, following a formal opinion issued by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein that authorized the council to extend the license, which had been due to expire this Friday.

At yesterday's Second Television and Radio Authority meeting, Channel 10's CEO, Yossi Varshavsky, said the station was in touch with new potential investors including a European and a local contact, and he hoped the talks would result in a new infusion of funds in the near future. The extension of the term of the license until year's end does not automatically defer the station's debt to the government.

The Channel 10 studio. Credit: Tomer Polatin

Last year, Haaretz reported that senior Channel 10 officials had apparently received messages from the Prime Minister's Bureau that seemed to link the office's tough stance at the time against a further extension to investigative reports it ran against Netanyahu.

Reshet, one of the two franchisees for the country's other major commercial station Channel 2, is also in arrears on its payments to the government, and legal proceedings have been filed against both Reshet and the owner of Channel 10. The other Channel 2 franchise, Keshet, which has met its payment obligations to the government, is expected to object to the license extension granted to Channel 10.

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