Israel’s Deputy Attorney General Avi Licht published an opinion on Sunday that Channel 10’s broadcasting license could be extended for another year, even though the major Israeli channel has not paid its outstanding debt of some NIS 45 million.
The Knesset Finance Committee rejected in December a request by Channel 10 to delay its debt repayment, forcing the major Israeli channel to immediately repay some NIS 45 million in debt, likely leading to its closure.
Channel 10 is expected to present an official request to extend its broadcasting permit until 2013. The Second Authority for Television and Radio, the body that regulates commercially-operated television and radio broadcasting in Israel, is due to discuss the request on Monday at a hearing for the channel.
The channel’s broadcasting permit is due to expire on January 27. If the channel does not repay its debt by that date, the Second Authority has said it will be forced to cancel its permit, as non-payment of debt is a violation of its terms. Nevertheless, legal firms and the media are working on a legal opinion that will enable the Second Authority to extend the permit despite non-payment of debt. This would enable the channel to continue operating, without delaying debt repayment.
Media officials claimed last week that a legal opinion of this kind would not stand up to a high court test, as non-payment of such a large debt is a serious violation, and the Second Authority does not have the authority to extend a permit in these circumstances.
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