JERUSALEM — Just an hour after Israel’s Press Council warned that media freedom in the country was “at risk,” the government shut down the state broadcaster’s venerable nightly news show.
The anchorwomen from Channel One’s evening news cried before the cameras after being informed that a sudden political decision meant that it would be the station’s last program after 49 years on the air.
The closing down of the Israel Broadcasting Authority did not come as a surprise. It has been more than three years — and much political wrangling — in the making. The news program had been losing viewers for years, and the whole public broadcasting authority had been accused of being corrupt and wasteful.
After numerous postponements, the authority had been slated to close May 14, but on Tuesday, David Han, the channel’s official liquidator, decided to go ahead and shutter the news program in what critics say is only the latest in the cruel and chaotic treatment of the authority.
“The ugly end for Israel Broadcasting Authority employees perfectly symbolizes the past three years, all of them cruel and capricious abuse imposed on them by the politicians,” said Yair Tarchitsky, chairman of Israel’s journalists’ union.
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Featured image courtesy of Reuters
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