Television Channels Race for Footage of Netanya Bombing

Mondays' suicide attack in Netanya triggered a frantic race among the television channels, which were broadcasting the events live after the attack.

The police reporters knew just where to run - in the suicide bombing that took place there six months ago, it transpired the owner of the adjacent car park, Haim Hasson, had security cameras that documented the event. Channel 2 agreed to buy the footage at the time for a few hundred dollars.

Monday's bombing had the reporters sprinting again to the same address. Once again Hasson's cameras had photographed the attack. Erez Rotem, Channel 2's police reporter, started negotiating with Hasson over the price, which Shalom Kital, news director general manager, had limited to $500.

But then Channel 1's reporter Guy Peleg arrived and closed the deal under Rotem's nose. Peleg was so eager to get the footage he told his bosses, who were slow to make a decision, that he would purchase the cassette himself and sell it afterward to foreign channels. He paid $3,500 for the cassette.

However, the directors of Channel 1 let Peleg's achievement slip out of their hands. Earlier, immediately after the bombing, Channel 2 helped Channel 1 by sharing with it the live broadcasts (Channel 1's broadcasting vans don't operate before noon).

Consequently Channel 1 decided to give Channel 2 the footage free of charge, on condition it broadcast it later and note that it was given them courtesy of Channel 1.

Channel 2 started broadcasting the trailers heralding the footage to be broadcast at 8 P.M. already at 6 P.M. Therefore, although Channel 1 was the first to broadcast the footage at 7 P.M., its achievement went almost unnoticed by viewers. Reuters bought the tape from Channel 1, covering half the expense.