Translation and Subtitles: Abir Kopty- Feie Universität Berlin
The Palestinian economy suffers very much due to the regulations imposed by the political and economic agreements with the occupation, and that reflects on the media work. Journalists working for local media are underpaid compared to journalists working for foreign media.
Palestinian media institutions are different from each other in term of ownerships and financial resources. The Palestine TV, Voice of Palestine, and Wafa News Agency are official state media and funded by the Palestinian Authority. As for the private media, they depend on advertising and businessmen as a source of funding. There are also partisan media that is funded by the different political factions, such as al-Aqsa TV and Palestine Newspaper that is based in Gaza, and owned by Hamas movement. Al-Awda TV and Mawtini FM are owned by Fatah movement. Palestine Today TV is considered close to the Islamic Jihad Movement. These channels vary in strength depending on the strength and influence of political factions that they belong to.
Palestine, has possibly, the most diverse media in the Arab region and maybe in the whole world. We have the state media, which is owned by the Palestinian Authority. These are media stations such as Palestine TV, Voice of Palestine, Wafa News Agency and al-Hayat al-Jadida newspaper.
However, the private media sector has a big share in the television and radio stations. For example, “Alfalstiniah” Satellite channel is privately owned. Most of the radio stations except Voice of Palestine, are privately owned, some of them are making profits and some barely manage to pay the salaries, which makes these radios dependent on advertising. The competition over advertisement led to a drop in the prices of advertising slots, especially in the radio.
There is also the partisan media, most political parties in Palestine established their own radio and television stations. Hamas Movement owns at least five channels, including al-Quds, al-Aqsa, Seraj al-Quds, Huna al-Quds and many other radio stations. In addition, it publishes Palestine Newspaper. The rest of the parities also own media outlets but not necessarily satellite channels, due to their low budget. The Islamic Jihad movement for example, owns Palestine Today TV but other parties have either established radio stations or newspapers or websites.
Therefore, the ownership is diverse between commercial, private, or civil ownership, which belongs to non-governmental organization such as an NGO working on women’s rights who established the “Voice of Women Radio”. The NGO “Woman Technical Committees” publishes a periodical titled “The Voice of Women”. This is also another type of media ownership.
There is a big move of capital into the media in order to impose a certain point of view, and that contradicts the freedom of expression and press. The capital practically controls the media, the owners impose their own point of view through their television, or radio stations, or any other outlet. This limits the freedom of press because the capital controls the journalist, which leads to limit the creativity and innovation by the journalists, affects their progress and development and turn the journalists into a machine rather than a creative person who has independent opinion and thought.
In the past, we were opinionated and against self-representation and would sign articles with our initiations’ name rather than our names. I remember we were signing with “The political analyst for the Palestinian News Agency” or “The editor of homeland affairs”, “The editor of culture affairs”, and so forth. With no names. This was a type of creativity or commitment to the public interest. But today, one finds many of the colleagues emerge without real creativity, because their general attitude is in line with or serves the owner of the media institution, whether its print, visual or audio. This affects the freedom of press and the natural development of the media.