The International Federation of Journalists
(IFJ) is backing protest demonstrations in support of the Israeli Broadcasting
Authority (IBA) led by the Jerusalem Journalists Association, a group within
the National Federation of Israeli Journalists, which is an IFJ affiliate.
"Journalists and other media staff are angry
that their working rights are being threatened as well as the rights of Israeli
citizens to an independent public broadcaster," said Aidan White, IFJ General
Secretary. "We fully support our Israeli colleagues because Israel, like any other vibrant and
democratic society, needs public service broadcasting, free of political and
commercial interference. It is particularly important for a broadcaster that
addresses a fragmented audience representing different languages and
communities inside and outside the country."
The IBA faces closure following difficult relations
between staff and management. The crisis at the IBA in recent weeks had
prevented satellite broadcasts and telephone interviews outside the studios.
The broadcaster's problems are compounded by tense relations between the IBA
and the Finance Ministry and other parts of government that consider that public
broadcasting is no longer necessary in the country.
"A public broadcaster is a must if we want to
touch and investigate serious issues without political or commercial
interference" said the newly-elected Chairman of the Jerusalem Journalists'
Association Dany Zaken.
A broad coalition of supporters of the IBA, from
the media, art, politics and civil society movement, recently held
a demonstration outside Beit Sokolov in Tel Aviv to protest against the threats
of closure of the IBA. Another
demonstration was held in Jerusalem
in front of the Knesset, with leading parliament members from all parts of the
political map coming out to join and show support. Israeli President Shimon Peres also spoke with Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Ofer Eini, the head of the
Histadrut labor federation in order to find a way of the crisis of public
broadcasting in Israel.
more information contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 125