PMO to bear financial cost of Israel Radio's Farsi broadcasts
By Asaf Carmel, Haaretz Correspondent
The Prime Minister's Office will assume responsibility for financing Israel Radio's Farsi (Persian) broadcasts, at an annual cost of NIS 3.6 million, according to an agreement reached recently between the office and the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA).
Under the agreement, the Prime Minister's Office will cover the cost of refurbishing and maintaining the broadcasting facilities, which represents the bulk of the project's costs. However, the IBA will continue to provide the station's personnel.
IBA officials insisted that despite the government funding, the Farsi broadcasts will not be propagandist in nature, and the Prime Minister's Office will have no influence on the broadcasts' content.
The Farsi broadcasts had been in danger because Israel Radio intends to stop all its short-wave broadcasts as of today, due to the poor condition of its transmitters. The IBA does not want to invest in repairs because of its terrible financial situation. Thus the broadcasts, which are run in several foreign languages and are intended primarily for Jews abroad, are scheduled to switch to the Internet.
Several months ago, MK Avigdor Lieberman, who was then minister of strategic threats, formulated a proposal to replace the short-wave broadcasts with a comprehensive Israeli broadcast network that would include an informational television station, a radio station and an Internet site. The program would cost an estimated NIS 20-30 million to set up and a similar sum annually for ongoing operations.
However, the proposal has thus far not gotten off the ground, and in the meantime, the Prime Minister's Office is apparently interested in at least having Israel Radio continue its Farsi broadcasts in the short-wave format, rather than just on the Internet. IBA executives agreed, but announced that they were unable to finance the project. The Prime Minister's Office therefore agreed to bear the burden.
"The Prime Minister's Office feels it is important that there be a broadcaster in Iran that is objective, and not just government and Al-Qaida broadcasters," IBA Chairman Moshe Gavish explained on Sunday. "I think they are right."
The Prime Minister's Office added: "The Farsi broadcasts have been going on for years, and Israel sees reason to continue them. The possibility existed that these broadcasts would end due to lack of funding. Following the intervention of Isaac Herzog, the minister responsible for overseeing implementation of the Broadcasting Authority Law, and Cabinet Secretary Oved Yehezkel, both of whom deemed the continuation of the broadcasts important, an earmarked budget was obtained and the broadcasts' continuation was assured."
Asked whether it will be involved in the content of the broadcasts, the Prime Minister's Office responded: "No. The broadcasts will remain in their current format."
01 aprile 2008
Il premier israeliano paga le onde corte in farsi
Secondo Haaretz sarà direttamente la presidenza del consiglio israeliana a sobbarcarsi i costi delle trasmissioni in onde corte in lingua farsi, le uniche sopravvissute del blocco di tutte le altre emissioni che dovrebbe entrare in vigore oggi. Il quotidiano rivela che la decisione è stata presa a causa delle pessime condizioni in cui versano oggi i trasmettitori, il cui sostituzione costerebbe troppo. Per questo Kol Israel adotta il medium Internet per dar voce alle sue redazioni in lingua estera. Haaretz rivela anche che mesi fa il ministro Avigdor Liebermann aveva lanciato l'idea di un piano di ristrutturazione che avrebbe dato vita a una nuova centrale di trasmissione televisiva e in onde corte, piano che sarebbe costato tra i 20 e i 30 milioni di shekel di avviamento e altrettanti di spese annue di gestione. Ovviamente non se n'è fatto nulla.