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Channel 10 may go off air in one month
Major shareholders say financing may stop as early as end of July. Channel's CEO blames bureaucracy; Second Authority for Television and Radio readies for new franchise bid, says everything is being done to avoid shutdown

Businessman Yossi Meiman, who owns a controlling interest in Channel 10, threatened to pull the plug Monday, saying his media group may stop financing its broadcasting as early as the end of July.


Meiman's announcement came just one day after the Second Authority for Television and Radio completed its preparations for a new franchise bid for the channel.


Channel 10's CEO Yossi Varshavsky convened an emergency meeting of the employees in order to explain the situation.


Varshavsky's criticism of the Communications Ministry, the Treasury and the Second Authority for Television and Radio was outspoken, as he said the channel "has been tossed around (the three) for the past year, creating an absurd, crazy situation. Israel stands to be left with only one commercial channel over bureaucracy."


The CEO added that should the channel stop broadcasting its 500 employees, families included, and its 2,000 contracted suppliers, stand to be "ruined."


Sources in Channel 10 said that the remainder of the funds still available is to be used to pay suppliers and severance pay.


Sources in Meiman's media group told Ynet that "the shareholders are fed up. Everyone agrees that this crisis emanated form a regulatory failure. No one is trying to default on the obligations, but we're getting the runaround – the Second Authority says it's the ministry's responsibility, the ministry says it's the authority's – it's time to make a decision."


Channel 10 has been operating for nearly a year with the threat of closure looming above. It's employed have staged a number protest rallies in the past, and are expected to take similar steps now.


Nevertheless, sources in the Communications Ministry said that everything is being done to find a viable solution for Channel 10, and that "no one wants to see a television station in Israel closing down."


Nurit Davosh, chairwoman of the Second Authority for Television and Radio told Ynet that the Second Authority "was doing everything possible to avoid from shutting Channel 10 down."


The Treasury declined comment.


פרסום ראשון: 07.14.09, 21:07
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