Outgoing Channel 1 Anchor Mulling Lawsuit Against IBA

Emilie Grunzweig
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Emilie Grunzweig

The presenter of Channel 1 television's flagship news program, who resigned on Tuesday, is reportedly considering suing the Israel Broadcasting Authority for breach of contract.

Yinon Magal had been one of two co-presenters of "Mabat" for the last four years. On Tuesday night, he announced his immediate resignation, and subsequently sent a harsh letter to the IBA explaining his reasons.

Sources in Channel 1's news department said the last straw was the decision to have military analyst Amir Bar-Shalom present the news in his stead on two nights this week, while Magal was assigned instead to prepare a news item for "Yoman," the Friday news show. "Aside from the fact that this violates his contract, no one even called Yinon to tell him about the changes," said one Channel 1 source.

The sources also said that Magal's relationship with the head of the news department, Moshe Nestelbaum, had been tense from the moment Nestelbaum took the job.

In his letter, Magal wrote that for months he has been subjected to "a campaign of maltreatment." In particular, he said, he has lately received numerous written reprimands and summonses to hearings for having praised Yaakov Eilon, the outgoing presenter of Channel 10's news program, and for coming to work in sandals.

"But I've never received a single professional complaint," he added. "My only sin was being appointed by the [IBA's] previous director general. Never have I encountered such low standards and such a low level of management, from both an ethical and a professional standpoint."

Finally, he said, he had been subjected to various demands that he termed contract violations, including being asked to come to work earlier and to present the news five times a week instead of four on a regular basis.

The IBA responded that "it believes an employee whose wage costs are about NIS 60,000 [a month] should come to work at least five times a week for at least six hours," especially given the IBA's severe financial troubles. It also said Magal had violated his contract repeatedly, by refusing to attend meetings or to write introductions for the news broadcasts.

Yinon MagalCredit: Eyal Touyeg