Channel 10 Halts Broadcasts, Blames Netanyahu

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Channel 10 shutdown.

Workers at Channel 10 shut down broadcasting overnight Sunday for seven-and-a-half hours. On the screen they ran a black-and-white photo of angry-looking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also holds the communications portfolio.

"In another three days Channel 10 will close," read the caption on the screen from 10:30 P.M. until 6:00 A.M. Monday. "The prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the acting communications minister, refuses to find a solution. Thus, the workers' committee decided this evening to cease Channel 10's broadcasts."

The workers are demanding that the channel's funds not be confiscated as planned on Monday and that the Second Channel Authority discuss Channel 10's request for a license.

Earlier on Sunday, the authority announced that it would confiscate the channel's 36 million-shekel ($9.2 million) debt from Channel 10's bank guarantees. Thus the authority rejected the offer from the channel's acquisition company, Universal Media, to front Channel 10 the money to begin paying off its debt.

The authority's decision effectively means the collapse of Channel 10.

The Second Authority Channel said in a statement, "As long as the channel cannot cover its debts from the period of its license, which have risen to tens of millions of shekels, there is no possibility, legally or publicly, to convene the Second Channel Authority council to discuss the channel's request for a license."

Channel 10, which opened in 2002, runs a distant second in ratings to Channel 2. By 2009, its debts had exceeded 1 billion shekels, and it has been living on borrowed time ever since.

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