Netanyahu seeks to shut down Palestine 48 TV station
Prime minister instructs Communications Ministry to use all means available in order to shut down PA-funded TV station; Nazareth-based station aims to give voice to Israeli Arabs.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also holds the position of communications minister, instructed the director-general of the Communications Ministry to work to shut down a new TV station called “Palestine ’48,” only hours before the Palestinian Authority-funded station is to go online on Thursday.
Palestinian Communications Minister Riad Hassan said in response: “Neither Netanyahu or his radical right-wing government can shut down the station.”
Netanyahu instructed the Communications Ministry and its enforcement branches to begin an immediate assessment of the Nazareth-based station’s legality.
The prime minister ordered the ministry to take any and all action within its purview, both criminal and bureaucratic, to stop the broadcasts. One of the main elements of the ministry’s investigation will be the legality of the Palestinian Authorities’ funding of the station.
“The prime minister will only be able to shut us down if he comes to Ramallah with his forces and occupies the Communications Ministry building and destroys our equipment. We are acting according to law, and are not physically inside of Israel, but are paying for services of licensed companies,” Hassan said. “We don’t have an office or station in Israel, and not even one clerk. If Netanyahu’s government is going against us using the law, then it will lose, and if they try by force, then we will have an appropriate response.”
The channel, which airs on Palestinian television, enlists the services of a production company in northern Israel, and its broadcasts will be received via satellite dishes, which are popular among the Arab sector.
“We will provide a stage for the other side as well, including right wing government ministers,” Hassan said at a press conference.
“The point is to give the Arabs of ’48 a stage to tell the Arab world all the difficulties they undergo both culturally and financially,” he said. “The Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas will support this station. We are even weighing a live streaming service within the Green Line. This is not an attempt to undermine the law in Israel,” he went on to say.
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