Massaging the media

Overview/Facts/Leaders/Media as it was on 31 August 2011 at 10:09 GMT

Palestinian media reflect the struggles between the two major leadership factions

Palestinian media reflect the struggles between the two major leadership factions?
Does he have a choice of reading material?

One could come away from this article imagining, as the photograph suggests,  there is a struggle in the media reflecting the struggles between the two major leadership factions. If you did, you would be wrong. The Palestinian Authority keeps a tight grip on the media and no pro Hamas publications are allowed. Similarly in Gaza no pro Fatah publications are allowed.

There are some interesting omissions, as we might expect. Many Palestinians, certainly those living in the Jerusalem area receive Israeli  television. That includes broadcasts in Arabic on Israeli channels. Those connected to either the HOT or YES cable networks are also able to subscribe to television from virtually the entire Middle East and North Africa and most major news English-language networks (BBC, FOX, Star, MSNBC, France 24, etc.).

According to the Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics, 95.9% of households in the West Bank have a satellite dish. In Gaza, 90.1% of households have a satellite dish. As far as we can tell, there are no restrictions on the use of satellite dishes. The popular satellite dish providers in the West Bank and Gaza are Nilesat and Badr. Neither of them offer any Israeli TV channels. However they do offer the full range of Arab channels, including Jordanian and Egyptian channels. They offer BBC in Arabic and English as well.†

Journalists are subject to intimidation by the Israeli military, though to a lesser degree than by Fatah and Hamas.

Is this implying Israel physically attacks journalists, as journalists? Some points deserve further detail.

Who is a journalist is a matter of debate after the last war in Gaza. Does a ‘journalist’ working for the Palestinian Authority or Hamas still have protection as if he was neutral? Does a ‘journalist’ actively working for the Palestinian side still have protection? What if he deliberately inserts himself into a closed military zone? Is anyone who calls himself ‘journalist’ entitled to protection?

In 2008, internet penetration stood at 14.8%

According to the CIA World Factbook there were 1,379,000 users in 2009. This places Gaza and the West Bank at 87 from 217 other countries and Internet penetration at closer to 30%. Perhaps the BBC has a different definition for Internet penetration but it is not stated.

22 April 2013
(updated 28 April 2013)
By David Guy (@5MFI)


† Special thanks to Alona Burger from Palestinian Media Watch for information on satellite use in Gaza and the West Bank

About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
This entry was posted in 5MFI Blog and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.