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European Broadcasters Aghast Over IBA Closure

Israel must do everything possible to preserve its public broadcasting system, the European Broadcasting Union said Monday.
By Moshe Cohen
First Publish: 5/5/2014, 10:27 PM

IBA headquarters
IBA headquarters
Flash90

Israel must do everything possible to preserve its public broadcasting system, the European Broadcasting Union said Monday. Commenting on a decision by Israel to cancel the TV tax, which is mostly used to pay for the public Israel Broadcasting Authority, the EBU said that Israel needed to find alternative ways to fund its public broadcasting system.

On Sunday, the government approved a bill to abolish the TV tax and close down the IBA.

The bill was presented by Communications Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) and Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid). Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (Likud) hailed the bill, saying that at the IBA, "unions have become bosses.” According to Economics Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) “We will continue to defend the unions [at the IBA] instead of the millions we all pay.”

EBU chairperson Ingrid Daltner, however, did not welcome the news. 

Daltner saw the intention to cancel the tax as “very worrisome,” and said that it appeared that Israel was setting up a situation where public broadcast would be subject to political whims.

“Israel cannot allow a situation where there is even one day without public broadcast,” Daltner added.

Israel has been a member of the EBU since 1963. Among other things, the EBU produces the annual Eurovision song contest.