Report: Netanyahu to Slash Budget of Public Broadcaster

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation (Kan) goes on air for the first time, May 14, 2017. (Yossi Aloni/Kan)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has many goals for his new administration – apparently among them is finalizing the privatization of the Israeli media market, according to a report in Calcalist.

Likud officials were quoted as saying that among the acts of the new government will be a major cut in funding to the Israel Broadcasting Corporation, which was established several years ago in place of the government-owned Israel Broadcasting Authority. Of the Corporation’s current NIS 750 million budget, the government will seek to cut some NIS 500 billion – a move that will lead to the closure of many of the Corporation’s stations and services.

According to the report, there is likely to be little opposition to the idea from the Likud’s coalition partners – including from Kulanu, which was opposed to establishing the Corporation in place of the Authority two years ago, because of the importance of public broadcasting. With just four MKs, Kulanu would be able to halt cuts to the Corporation’s budget, and Moshe Kahlon, Kulanu’s leader, is unlikely to make preserving the Corporation a “do or die” issue, the report said.

Netanyahu himself was opposed to the establishment of the Corporation, preferring to keep the Authority, but said that he was bound by previous government decisions. In the end, it was decided that the Corporation would be established, with limited funding. The report added that as the Corporation’s funding is legislated by the Knesset, any change in the law would likely bring with it petitions to the High Court.