Weinstein's deputy, Attorney Avi Licht, established in an opinion paper released Sunday that the channel's license may be extended for a year despite having defaulted on a NIS 60 million (about $16 million) debt to the government.
The opinion will be submitted to the Second Authority for Television and Radio Council, which is scheduled to hold a meeting on the Channel 10 issue in which it is expected to adopt the opinion and refrain from posing any opposition.
The opinion maintains that the issue that should in fact be looked into in depth is the channel's eligibility for a license. The implication is that the channel will not be shut down on January 27, the expiration date of its license and will be given the time it needs to meet its financial obligations to the government or to bring in investors.
It should be mentioned that Channel 10 applied for a license on January 1 but is currently ineligible due to its debts.
"I did not disregard what Knesset members and government representatives had to say during legislation procedures, from which it may be understood that some Knesset members and government representatives may have advocated a different reading," the opinion said.
"However, at the end of the day, from the moment the law was born it has independent validity and vitality, and only the letter of the law and the purpose that it serves can be used as guidelines for its understanding."
Furthermore, the opinion stated that "there is a difficulty in principle in the fact that the channel, which is supposed to be independent and self-governing, seeks help from the Knesset and the government to bail it out of its troubles time after time."
Channel 10 said in response, "After the channel met all of its obligations and has even settled past obligations, as mentioned in the Second Authority for Television and Radio reports, we will be thankful for any solution which will allow the channel to continue broadcasting and to exercise the licensing reform.
"The extension of the franchise until the licenses' period begins, as established by law, is a first step in that direction".
The Justice Ministry said, "We cannot comment on the matter until the opinion is circulated."
The Second Authority for Television and Radio commented: "If we receive a Ministry of Justice opinion, our council will discuss it during the hearing."
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