Today, one year after a law was passed allowing the i24NEWS international news channel to broadcast in Israel, the channel began its broadcasts in Israel in English, Arabic, and French.
i24NEWS, which has a pro-Israeli slant, will be broadcast on HOT Telecommunication Systems Ltd. (TASE: HOT). The English channel will be on Channel 34 and Channel 200 as part of a package of international news channels. The French channel will be broadcast on Channel 144 as part of a package of channels in French, and the Arabic channel will be broadcast on Channel 174.
The Knesset Economic Affairs Committee approved a law initiated by MK Nahman Shai (Zionist Union) allowing DBS Satellite Services (1998) Ltd. (YES) and Hot to screen international news channels broadcast from Israel to viewers in Israel. The i24NEWS channel, which is broadcast in English, Arabic, and French from its studios in Jaffa, went on the air in July 2013. It also has studios in France and in the US. Since it is controlled by Altice, Patrick Drahi's company, which is also the controlling shareholder in Hot, the question of cross-ownership was raised.
The law states that the Council for Cable and Satellite Broadcasting can allow Yes and Hot to broadcast an international news channel in accordance with rules to be set that will ensure that most of the channel's broadcasts are designed for the public outside Israel and guarantee the independence of its news staff.
It appears that i24NEWS has no intention of stopping there. The channel plans to campaign soon on behalf of an amendment to the law enabling it to broadcast in Hebrew. i24NEWS CEO Frank Melloul said today, "The next challenge is to found a fourth channel in Hebrew."
Melloul added, "Now that we have attained this objective of broadcasting i24NEWS in English, Arabic, and French in Israel, it is time to move on to the next challenge: as part of the reform of the minister to open the communications market and allow as many channels as possible to broadcast in a free and competitive theater, it is time to talk about a fourth channel of i24NEWS in Hebrew."
The i24NEWS channel, founded in 2013, broadcasts 24 hours a day, four days a week. Its broadcasting schedule is composed of sets of prime-time hours: one according to European and Middle Eastern time and the other according to US time. The channel has 400 employees and broadcasts from studios in Paris, Los Angeles, Washington, and New York.
Melloul, who immigrated to Israel with his family in order to create the i24NEWS channel, commented today in a press conference on what the channel has been through since it was founded: "We have come a long way and established i24NEWS as a reliable, competitive, balanced, and independent news channel. I wish to thank the founder and owner of i24NEWS, Patrick Drahi, who understood the importance of an independence news network. I promise that i24NEWS will remain an independent network. The channel's team will adhere scrupulously to the ethical and regulatory rules."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 29, 2018
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