Media Coverage at 'Palestine Television (PBC)' and 'Al-Aqsa Satellite Channel' Following Hamas’ Military Takeover of Gaza
This report monitors the coverage of the events that followed Hamas’ military takeover of Gaza Strip at the Palestinian Television Channel (PBC) and Al-Aqsa Satellite Television during the period from June 18, 2007 to July18, 2007.
The Report examines the coverage of events during that period on a daily basis through five hours between 6:00 -11:00 pm, a total of 145 hours of prime time broadcasting, and the richest in news bulletins, news programs and talk shows.
This Report comes in the context of the Palestinian-Israeli monitoring project, launched by the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy -MIFTAH, in cooperation with the Center for the Protection of Democracy in Israel “KESHEV,” with the aim of monitoring the professionalism of the media, and how it covered the conflict on both sides, and whether it contributed to an independent, professional and bold media that spreads a culture of indulgence, moderation and understanding between the two peoples through monitoring, research and analysis, and attempting at influencing the media and the legislature without infringing on its freedom and its right of expression.
We also took into consideration the difficult conditions under which PBC worked following Hamas’ takeover of Gaza Strip, as their headquarters were shut down, the staff failed to attend to work, and broadcasting surprisingly moved to Ramallah studios, and hence the Ramallah staff was not fully prepared to cover the events of that period, particularly that their correspondents in Gaza were not capable of covering news and facts of what had been going on in Gaza, unlike Al-Aqsa Satellite Television, which was working under much more stable conditions and with better resources than those of PBC.
Since PBC is the only official national TV station that reflects the public concern, as it defined itself, the criteria used to analyze its media coverage were different from those used with Al-Aqsa, a partisan media channel that reflects a clear partisan message, but whose coverage was not objective, and just like PBC, which did not maintain neutrality as an official national television station.
This report on the coverage of PBC and Al-Aqsa of the events of a whole month following Hamas’ takeover of Gaza Strip is a continuation of Phase II of the Media Monitoring Project.
The report aims at monitoring the events during a period where the media played an extremely active and effective role. PBC and Al-Aqsa played a role as grave as the period itself, and this report attempts at diagnosing the performance of both channels and the degree of professionalism and objectivity of each during that period.
The report presents the media discourse of each of PBC and Al-Aqsa in an internal rift that was ultimately resolved by force. The media discourse was oriented towards an internal issue, utilized similar tools as those used in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but was even more heated and biased.