יום רביעי   20-11-2019
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: Sanctions imposed on Social TV – Update

חברה נכתב על ידי

In the past few weeks we have informed you on the orchestrated attack on Israel Social TV, which includes several sanctions imposed on our work by official agencies. Here is an update:

The Ministry of Communications was supposed to transfer a 121,000 NIS allocation which was confirmed by the Ministry's Allocations Committee earlier this year.

This allocation is based on ISTV being a community broadcasting organ, broadcasting on Community Channel. (The allocation is a partial reimbursement for the costs of production in 2016).

Based on The Ministry of Communications General Director's directive, Dr. Yifat Ben Hai Segev, Chair of the Governmental Council for Cable TV and Satellite Broadcasting decided not to transfer this sum to us. She made this decision even though this allocation was legally confirmed by the Ministry of Communications' Allocation Committee.  Dr. Segev demanded to watch all our materials and examine "whether or not they are subversive"…

In a very unusual step, Dr. Segev also involved Cabinet Minister of Finance In the matter, asking him to exercise his authority to cancel the approved allocation.

It is important to stress that none of these officials has made any particular claim against any specific ISTV item, or point out any problem with the contents, in their eyes.

Beyond general attempts by upper echelons to constrict our work, we assume that the harassment we are going through now has to do with our critical report "Exhausting the Community Broadcasting", which directly criticizes the Ministry of Communications' Allocations Committee.

Although invited by us, The Governmental Council for Cable TV and Satellite Broadcasting refused to make its comments on our article or be interviewed by us.

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At the same time, ultra-right-wing Cabinet Minister Uri Ariel, who heads for the National-Civil-Service Authority, does everything at his disposal to cancel ISTV's license to accept National-Civil Service volunteers. These people have been exempted from military service from various reasons and some of them volunteer for a year or two in social projects and NGOs.

For many years we were swamped with dozens of candidates, out of whom we used to regularly choose four. This year we hardly had candidates referred to us and we could only select one.

If you are parents of teenagers who were exempted from military service, or if you know people in this status, don't hesitate – refer them to us.

Minister Ariel's biased step is illegal, and the proper response to that is maximal placement of civil service volunteers in ISTV, right away.

At the same time, we are now required to evacuate our offices and move elsewhere. We were taken by surprise by this announcement. We are certain that this request, breaching the rent contract ending on July 2017, has to do with what we are and external pressure on the landlord.

We are facing complex challenges: We have to make Public and legal steps against the Ministry of Communications, continue with our journalistic work in spite of the vital four civil-service positions taken from us, and we need to evacuate our offices and move elsewhere by the end of December. All this has to happen in spite of budget cuts imposed on us stemming from this attack.

These days we are searching for additional financial sources, which will enable us to cross this complicated period and come out of it even stronger.

Couple of days ago, some 100 generous crowdfunding donations went down the drain: We partnered with "Minds of Peace" to conduct the largest ever Israeli-Palestinian Popular Congress to end the Occupation. 850 West Bank Palestinians and over 1,000 Israelis registered. The fundraising campaign was launched two weeks ago. However, the Palestinians were refused entry by Israeli authorities and we had to cancel the event altogether. Donors' credit cards will not be charged.

ISTV experienced hackers' attempts to take down its website time and again this year. This forced us to buy external security services for hundreds of US$ per month.

We must be doing something right if so many attempts to shut us up are taking place all at once…

I warmly invite you to become partners in Social TV's unique project, now celebrating its 10th year, and support us. All channels of support are detailed HERE.

Best wishes,

Ehud Shem Tov
Editor in Chief & Founder CEO