Palestinian Territories - Media Landscape
|Population||2.5 m note: in addition, there are about 187.000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank and fewer than 177.000 in East Jerusalem (2004)|
|Area||5.860 sq km|
|Total imports (incl. Gaza)||€2.1 bn (2005)|
|Total exports (incl. Gaza)||€270 m (2005)|
|GDP (incl. Gaza)||€3 bn (2006)|
|GDP per capita (incl. Gaza)||€692 (2006)|
|Unemployment (incl. Gaza)||23,6% (2006)|
|Literacy rate (incl. Gaza)||93,5%|
|Internet users (per 1000 people) (incl. Gaza)||65.6|
|Languages||Arabic (official), Berber Dialects, French|
|Population||1.4 m (2007)|
|Area||360 sq km|
The Oslo Accords established the Palestinian National Authority in 1993. Prior to these Accords, Israel denied any Palestinian living outside Jerusalem the right to publish a newspaper or start a radio or television station. Still, one Arabic newspaper has been published in East Jerusalem since 1951, the Al-Quds newspaper.
Since the Oslo Accords, new newspapers have been established. Palestinian national and independent radio and television stations have also launched.
Nevertheless, the Israel-Palestine conflict has had great impact on the media. Harassment of journalists and restrictions of free movement make the working conditions extremely difficult. Furthermore, the second intifada, which started in 2000, created financial trouble for many media organizations. The conflict between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas in Gaza lead to a further deterioration of the working environment for journalists.
The Palestinian Territories have three main newspapers: the Al-Quds, which is privately owned but close to the authority and has the largest circulation; the Al-Ayyam, the editor of which was in the Fatah party, and the Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah, a national authority daily. The political party Hamas has its own daily newspaper, Palestine. Next to these, there are several weekly newspapers and tabloids.
The Palestine News Agency (WAFA) is the official government news agency. It delivers news in Arabic, Hebrew, English and French. However, there are several more independent news agencies, such as the Ramattan News Agency, which primarily serves television stations and the Ma’an News Agency. The latter is sponsored by the Dutch and Danish Ministries of Foreign Affairs. Shehab is another Hamas-supported news agency that, according to media sources in Gaza, is competing with Ramattan and tries to replace it. Also, there is the Jerusalem Media & Communication Center, which provides translated local news summaries to a list of subscribers.
Television is the most important source of information and news in the Palestinian Territories. The main broadcaster is the state-run Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC). It produces both terrestrial and satellite channels and is administratively connected to the president’s office.
There are also two other major local media outlets: The Network of United Radio Stations (NUR) and SADA TV. The Palestine News Network (PNN) together with NUR and SADA TV Company have recently signed a partnership agreement. The coalition, which includes also a number of television and radio stations and news websites will be called ‘ United ‘.
There are 31 private television stations registered at the Palestinian ministry of information – West Bank only. Most of these channels are limited to broadcasting to small areas and cities. However, the Palestinians are not bound only to national television channels. Channels from abroad, such as as Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya are quite popular. Multi-faceted stations such as Al-Amal TV, Amwaj TV and Jordanian TV offer a lot of choices and are often viewed. The Islamist party Hamas has its own television station, Al-Aqsa in Gaza. Moustafa Barghouti, the former Minister of Information, also has his own channel, Al-Watan TV.
The official radio station in the Palestinian Territories is the Voice of Palestine, which is part of the PBC. Twenty-six stations are registered in the West Bank only. Two of the independent radio stations include Radio Amwaj and Ajyaal, based in Ramallah.
Many private radio stations are registered in smaller towns.
Despite the fact that the Palestinian Internet access is regulated by Israel, online media in Palestine is expanding. In 2006, it was estimated that nearly 243,000 Palestinians, about 13 percent of the population, had access to the Internet. Although Internet cafés are the main means to online access, Internet is becoming increasingly available for home and personal use.
There are several electronic media outlets, including the PNN, offering news in Arabic, English, Hebrew and French; the Gaza based Donia Alwatan, which is widely browsed as it offers a variety of reports in addition to news in Arabic; Paltoday; Samanews and the Hamas affiliated Al-Bian.
The Palestinian bloggosphere is developing. A new website for blogs was established in 2007 by the Arabic Media Internet Network (AMIN), an NGO from Ramallah. It hosts blogs on a variety of subjects.
There are also many external blogs to be found about the Palestinian Territories. Most of them deal with the Isreal-Palestine conflict:
Despite very adverse economic and security conditions, the Palestinian fixed and mobile markets have been growing at a steady pace in the past years. The fixed sector grew by an average rate of 10.2 percent between 2000 and 2004, reaching 357.310 fixed subscribers by the end of 2004 and a penetration rate of 9.8 percent. In 2006, there were around 830.000 mobile-phone accounts according to the Palestinian communication company Paltel.
In August 2008, Wataniya Palestine Telecom (WPT) and its shareholders Wataniya Telecom and the Palestine Investment Fund, began signing agreements with a number of telecommunications and information technologies providers to start the construction of WPT GSM network in Palestine. The signing of the agreements came after WPT received the frequency license from the Palestinian Ministry of Telecommunications and Information technology. The allocation of the radio frequencies allows WPT to begin construction of its network, the second GSM network in Palestine, in preparation for its commercial launch in 2009.
Learning and support
Several Palestinian universities offer journalism programmes:
At the Birzeit University one can choose among these subjects:
- Major Media-Journalism/Minor Political Science
- Major Media-Journalism/Minor Sociology
- Major Media-Radio Broadcasting/Minor Television
The An-Najah National University also offers an undergraduate programme of journalism.
The Al-Quds University hosts the Institute of Modern Media which was established in 1996 in Al-Bireh near Ramallah. The institute’s most vital department is Al-Quds Educational Television, which is considered the university’s communication link to the Palestinian society.
The Palestine Polytechnic University offers a Bachelor degree program of art and creativity skills with the applications and techniques of the multimedia. It aims to upgrade the use of multimedia and graphics design techniques in the various sectors, such as art production in printing, television and internet.
In 2003, the Bethlehem Bible College launched a Media Training Project. It offers two-year programmes in journalism focusing on web design, radio and television production. The college boasts a media centre, which produces a weekly one-hour television programme that airs in the West Bank.
The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate is the only official and professional media organization in the Palestinian Territories.
- Al-Hayat - Al-Jididah
- Al-Amal TV (N/A)
- Amwaj TV (N/A)
- Radio Nablus (N/A)
- Palestine News Agency (WAFA)
- Jerusalem Media and Communication Center
- Rammatan News Agency
- Ma’an News Agency
- International Federation of Journalists
- Birzeit Univeristy
Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation
PO Box 984, Ramallah Albereih
Tel.: +972 (0)2 295 9894
Fax: +972 (0)2 295 9893
Palestine News Agency
P.O. Box: 5300
Tel.: + 970 2 824036
Fax: + 970 2 824046
Ma’an News Agency
Al-Karkafa Street, Al-Majd Building, 4th Floor
Tel.: +970 276 008 5/6
Fax: + 970 276 00 88
Sub-Office, Gaza City
Ma’an News Agency
Wahda Street, Flat Three, Shawa & Hussari Building, tenth floor
Tel.: +970 08 282 50 11
Fax: +970 08 283 51 78
Ramattan News Agency - Head Office
Wahda Street, Shawa & Hussari Building, 9th Floor
Tel.: +970 828 301 66
Fax No: +970 828 482 88