Cultural Figures Block Tel Aviv Road for Protesting Public Broadcaster Closure

On Wednesday, an emergency meeting was attended by hundreds of the top writers, directors and actors in Tel Aviv for opposing the closure of the public broadcasting authority by the government.

After the meeting, dozens of people headed out to Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Street and traffic was blocked for a brief period of time.

The protest

The area in Tel Aviv has become a hotspot for protests in the weekly demonstrations that are taking place against the policies of the new government.

There had also been a protest of tech industry members on Tuesday in the same place against the judicial reforms that have been proposed by the new government.

Shlomo Karhi, the Communications Minister, said earlier this month said that state public broadcasting did not need any support in Israel.

He also hinted towards plans of closing down the Kan broadcaster as well as other bodies that regulate transmission.

The Wednesday meeting was held in Tel Aviv at the Tzavta Theater for opposing the said plan.

It was attended by workers of the Kan public broadcaster, along with hundreds of writers, directors, actors and other figures part of the cultural world.

Public broadcasting

The chair of the Israeli Actors’ Association, Riki Blich said that public broadcasting is required for producing shows that may not have high ratings to make them commercially attractive.

However, the shows may still have a lot of value, particularly those that focus on children dealing with disabilities, or single-parent families.

She said that they produce a culture for themselves and they wouldn’t be able to do it if the state does not help them out.

She added that it would mean that only things that can generate money will exist and television broadcasts would become similar to commercials.

Creator and star of the hit drama series named ‘Fauda’, Lior Raz said that a country has less democracy if it does not have public broadcasting.

The impact

Raz added that not only shows will be impacted, but people will also lose their jobs. He said that people only see what happens on television, but there are a lot of people working behind the scenes for producing the shows.

He said that they could not forget caterers, taxi drivers, those working in the studio, along with lighting and sound people.

Before the meeting, the organizers had said that thousands of employees are hired by the corporation and 70% of those who are employed in the television and film industry are part of it.

The organizers said that the Communications Minister was sealing mouths and was shutting down the found that generates original content.

They said that it was delusional to think that public support was not needed for producing content in Hebrew language.

The statement from the organizers said that public broadcasting was necessary because there are educational, moral and social effects of free communication and creativity.

Karhi had said earlier this month that they wanted the free market to prevail in the industry, so they would remove regulation and obstacles.

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