Hundreds of Journalists Protest Israeli Gov't Plan to Shut Public Broadcaster

Before the protest in which journalists and media professionals blocked central streets in Tel Aviv, nine journalist’s unions in Israel called on Likud lawmaker and Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi to halt his plan to dissolve the Kan public broadcaster

עידו דוד כהן - צרובה
Ido David Cohen
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Israeli journalists and media professionals protesting the government's plans to shutter the country's public broadcaster, in Tel Aviv, on Wednesday.
Israeli journalists and media professionals protesting the government's plans to shutter the country's public broadcaster, in Tel Aviv, on Wednesday.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
עידו דוד כהן - צרובה
Ido David Cohen

Israeli journalists and other media professionals blocked central streets in Tel Aviv on Wednesday in protest of the government’s plans to shutter the country’s public broadcaster.

Following an emergency conference, hundreds protested the plan spearheaded by Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi to dissolve the Kan public broadcaster.

Unlike its counterpart in the U.S., Israel’s public broadcaster is one of the three main television news channels in the country and produces a host of original content.

Protesters blocking Kaplan street in central Tel Aviv, on Wednesday.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Media professionals protesting in central Tel Aviv, today.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Among the high-profile demonstrators were Golan Yochpaz, the director general of the Kan public broadcaster, Chief Executive Officer at Keshet Media Group Avi Nir and Reshef Levi, who created the Israeli series ‘Carthago.’

Hagit Ben Yakov, chairwoman of the Israeli Documentary Filmmakers Forum nonprofit organization, said at the conference: “We are at war. But we are not the only ones here. The threat is against the millions of citizens of the country who enjoy the content produced by Kan.”

חסימת רחוב קפלן בתל אביב. נועה קולר: "עכשיו מה עומד לקרות - נצא לרחובות"

Former Deputy Attorney General, Dina Zilber, told Haaretz during the demonstration that the protest is “part of the overall struggle for the face and image of this country — so that true democracy remains, in essence and not just as an [empty] shell.”

“An independent judicial system and courageous public broadcasting are among the democratic guarantees of our system,” she added.

Earlier on Wednesday, nine journalist’s unions in Israel called on the Likud lawmaker to halt his plan, including Haaretz and its business daily TheMarker, Walla!, Yedioth Ahronoth, Ynet, Channel 13, the Knesset’s TV channel, Globes, i24 News, and Army Radio.

Workers at Channel 12, one of the three major TV news channels, did not undersign the letter because they are not unionized. However, they told Haaretz that their CEO, Avi Weiss, will address another emergency conference in Tel Aviv on the issue on Sunday.

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