Citing Egypt, Feiglin Calls Army Radio a 'Threat to Democracy'
If Egypt is any example, Israel must immediately remove Israel's Army Radio from the control of the IDF, said MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud). Feiglin made the comments after the Egyptian Army threatened to remove President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt at the beginning of the week, a threat they eventually made good on.
Regardless of one's opinion of Morsi, it was clear that in a democracy the army needed to have its powers limited, Feiglin said – and that included transferring communications to civilian control.
“The existence of Army Radio is a major problem,” Feiglin said during a discussion of the Knesset Economics Committee at the beginning of the week on allowing Army Radio to broadcast advertisements.
“The army has no business managing a private-sector information source, because such a situation can lead to a takeover of the civilian government by the army,” as happened in Egypt, Feiglin said. According to Feiglin, the first thing an army does is take over the means of communications – which also occurred in Egypt, when the army shut down radio and TV stations sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood.
“There is no room for this kind of situation in a democracy,” he added. If the IDF still wanted input into the station, he said, it could transfer ownership of Army Radio to a group of retired officers - who were now civilians.
Israel's Army Radio, which began broadcasts in 1950 during the War of Independence, has special programs geared to soldiers in addition to other broadcasts and may be listened to 24 hours a day reaching every part of Israel. It has been criticized heavily by the right for a leftist stance of a good number of its broadcasters.