Jerusalem (Jul. 2)
The Supreme Court has ordered the Communications Ministry to desist immediately from jamming commercial television broadcasts emanating from the ship Odelia outside Israeli territorial waters. The Ministry was given two weeks to show cause why it should not comply.
The court acted on the complaint of a Tel Aviv resident who claimed that the government was illegally interfering with the reception of broadcasts transmitted from sources not under its control. The government has not licensed the Odelia to broadcast to Israel. TV viewers in the Tel Aviv area who tune in to its ultra high frequency (UHF) channel to see a film, find the signal distorted by official government programs.
A bill pending in the outgoing Knesset to declare so-called “pirate” broadcasts illegal is in the committee stage. But the government is expected to ban Israeli manufacturers and distributors of foreign-made goods in Israel from buying commercial time on the Odelia. The ship, operated by a group of foreign investors, began commercial broadcasts to Israel earlier this year.