Libel Lawyer Approved Uvda's Israir Piece

The investigative piece by television news program Uvda ("Fact") on Israir's attempt to cover up its near miss was approved by leading libel lawyer Mibi Moser. Despite this, the item was later cut from the program's season debut last Thursday, based on a second opinion by Ran Gazit, Keshet's legal advisor.

The decision not to run the piece, which aroused anger at Uvda, was made after Keshet received a letter in which Israir, controlled by Nochi Dankner and Avi Fischer, threatened to sue. The letter was addressed to Keshet Chair Mozi Wertheim and CEO Avi Nir.

Moser provides legal advice to numerous media organizations, including Haaretz, Yedioth Ahronoth and Keshet. Gazit also serves as legal advisor to Wertheim and to Coca-Cola Israel, owned by Wertheim. Gazit was among those who helped found Keshet at the dawn of the Channel 2 era.

Moser gave legal advice to the Uvda team, lead by program anchor Ilana Dayan, while it was conducting the investigation. He saw the Israir piece in its entirety and approved its broadcasting in full, including the timing of the broadcast. However, after the Israir letter arrived, Gazit was asked to provide a second opinion, even though Keshet management knew the piece had already received legal approval.

The reason Keshet gave for postponing the broadcast, based on Gazit's opinion, is that it is interested in removing any claim of untoward involvement in the decision to approve Israir's scheduled New York line, which the Tourism Ministry is supposed to make very soon.

Keshet commented, "Gazit's office is the one that works with Keshet in all its operations, and was also involved in this case as an integral part of its work as legal advisor to Keshet in all areas." The Channel 2 franchisee refused to say who requested that Gazit make the second opinion.

Moser's office refused to comment on the affair.

Gazit confirmed that he provided an opinion, which he sent to Keshet CEO Nir.