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Channel 10 cans weekly news show, plans to fire 26 workers (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Emilie Grunzweig 06/05/12)Source: http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/channel-10-cans-weekly-news-show-plans-to-fire-26-workers-1.434421 HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
The board of directors of Channel 10 is taking its flagship weekly news program "Hashavua" off the air, it announced this week, and has summoned 16 staff members to pre-dismissal interviews.

The board of the beleaguered commercial television station, which has been in acute financial distress for the past year, also approved a 15 percent wage cut for its news talents.

The station may not have enough money to pay its employees next month, and is expected to summon 10 more staff members for pre- dismissal interviews shortly.

The Friday night news program made headlines in September when three of the station´s prominent figures - the CEO of its news division, Reudor Benziman; "Hashavua" editor Ruti Yovel; and the program´s anchor, Guy Zohar - resigned after the channel was coerced into broadcasting an apology to U.S. billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a major financial backer of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for an unflattering investigative report.

Last week Channel 10 CEO Yossi Warshavsky also resigned, saying he no longer had the strength to fight for the troubled station´s survival. Warshavsky sent the prime minister a letter asking him to allow the station to spread out its debts.

The investigative report, about luxury trips abroad taken by the Netanyahu family that were funded by political donors, was written by Avner Hofstein, one of the journalists summoned for a pre-dismissal interview this week.

Until this development, Channel 10 had been working on a revamp of the Friday night news format, with the intention of featuring its new diplomatic commentator Emmanuel Rosen and Alon Ben-David as anchors, backed by a panel of commentators in the studio.

Channel 10 sources said whether or not the show goes back on air will depend on whether they get increased funding, because in the next two months the deficit-stricken channel will have cash-flow difficulty and may not be able to pay workers´ salaries.

Over the next few days, senior Channel 10 executives are expected to meet with U.S. businessman Ron Lauder, who owns 25 percent of the channel´s shares and is the only shareholder who has been funneling money into the station recently.

Channel 10 News is operating on a budget of NIS 65 million, the minimum required by law.

News division employees said they were not surprised by the changes, given that backers have largely cut funding in the past year.

Its workers´ union met with Uri Rosen, the acting CEO of Channel 10 News, to express its objection to the planned dismissals and cuts. The union demanded negotiations on revoking the dismissals or reducing their scope, and finding alternative positions for the staff members who are about to be fired.

The Second Television and Radio Authority yesterday asked Channel 10 for clarifications about the planned changes.

"´Hashavua´ was approved as part of the broadcasting schedule for Channel 10 News, and any change must be approved by the authority," Yaakov Shaham, the authority´s television department head, said yesterday.

The authority will comment on the changes after it understands why Friday night´s news show was pulled and what is being planned in its stead, he said.

"My opinion is that the attempts to save Channel 10 require cuts, including dismissals of workers and journalists," Shaham said. "This will give the channel a chance to survive and prevent the dismissal of hundreds of workers, including dozens of journalists." (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 06/05/12)

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