The economics show Reshet Calcalit (Economic Network) broadcast by Channel 2 franchisee Reshet was taken off the air on Sunday after regulators alleged that at least one organization paid to appear on the show.
The Second Authority for Television and Radio found that Reshet agreed to provide 36 weekly appearances on the show to Yaron Gindi, chairman of the Israel Tax Advisers Association, through the end of the year in exchange for being paid 12,000 shekels ($3,450) per appearance. Gindi had appeared in five segments and was scheduled to appear in one more this week for a total of 72,000 shekels in the first stage of the deal, the authority said.
The Second Authority said it had seen copies of the agreement as well as receipts between the Tax Advisors Association and the Italy Brand Group Tel Aviv for the payments. But Italy Brand Group Tel Aviv, which handles advertising and marketing for the Tax Advisors Association, called the payment a fee for “cooperation” in sponsoring part of the Internet segment of the program, in which banners and content segments promoting the association’s informational campaign appear.
“The payment was made for this purpose only, and any attempt to present the payment otherwise contradicts the agreements signed on the matter. There is no receipt on the six segments for the amount mentioned,” the agency asserted.
The authority said it suspected the deal was signed with Reshet’s commercial department, which forced the producers of the show to give Gindi the air time.
The producers, host Sharon Kidon and other staff of Reshet Calcalit say they knew nothing of the payments, and the authority has uncovered no evidence to the contrary. Gindi went through the standard process of auditions and examination of the content, like everyone else, without the producers ever being informed of behind-the-scenes goings-on, they said.
“The editorial staff of Reshet Calcalit and myself too are involved only in content. For every other matter you must ask the relevant people,” Kidron said.
As for the show itself, which was due to go on a summer break in two weeks before the affair was uncovered, Reshet said it would return to the airwaves. “We will conduct every relevant examination and continue to act according to the rules of the Second Authority. Reshet Calcalit will return to the air at the end of the summer break,” it said in a statement.