Free to drop CNN International come November, Israel's three cable companies
are now trying to negotiate lower license fees for carrying the news network.
Israel's Council for Cable TV and Satellite Broadcasting ruled Thursday that
the cable operators did not have to renew their contracts with Cable News Network when the deal
expires in November.
The chief executive of Israel's largest cable operator, Golden Channels Ltd., told
Reuters CNN has become too expensive. Ram Belinkov said his company has
given CNN a fair proposal and, if it is not met, he'd cease carrying the network.
Israel's other two cable operators, Tevel Israel International Communications Ltd. and Matav Cable Systems Media Ltd., have similar concerns.
CNN, however, is optimistic that it can negotiate with the three companies. "We've
negotiated with the cable providers in good faith and will continue to do so,"
the network said.
CNN officials doubted that the network will go dark in Israel, saying, "It is very
hard to imagine that the Israeli cable operators, let alone their customers,
will be willing to remove such a valuable source of information."
CNN has come under fire from the Israeli government and viewers for
accusations of a Palestinian bias. CNN's head of newsgathering Eason Jordan
recently traveled to Israel to smooth relations.