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Israel Considering Commercial Tv

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The government appears inclined to award one of two private investment groups a license to establish a commercial television channel in Israel if certain conditions are met, it was learned today. One group is headed by Eliezer Zurabin, manager of an advertising agency that handled Likud’s media campaign in the last elections and the Labor Alignment’s in the three previous elections. The other is a syndicate that includes local and foreign interests, among them Thames Television, the owners of the Nasher-Abir brewery and investors from Canada and South Africa.

The government has stipulated that the broadcasts must be black-and-white to avoid a rush to buy color television sets which are very costly. Newspapers whose advertising would suffer from TV competition must be allowed to participate in the new venture and the government will also insist that commercial TV be under the supervision of the Broadcast Authority to ensure political balance. Preference will be given investors who do not seek government financial assistance.

The establishment of commercial television will require new legislation. The law is likely to include provisions for regulation, a limit on the amount of time devoted to advertising and strict enforcement of political evenhandedness by the new channel. It is expected to be one of the most controversial pieces of legislation to reach the Knesset.

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