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Date posted: November 21, 2005
By MIFTAH’s Media Monitoring Unit

This is the third report issued by the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy – MIFTAH, on the media coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in coordination with Keshev-Center for the Protection of Democracy in Israel.

MIFTAH announced its initiative to monitor the Palestinian media in June 2004 and hence formed its own media unit in cooperation with a steering committee comprised of Palestinian media experts. The unit's goal is to develop the Palestinian media discourse to better serve Palestinian goals and rights by pointing out and changing the weak points in the Palestinian media through media reports, press releases, workshops and meetings with journalists and political and media decision makers. It also sought to achieve a higher level of professionalism in the Palestinian media because this is the only means of reaching an understandable, credible and truthful media discourse. Here, MIFTAH would like to stress that its positive and open relationship with the Palestinian media will inevitably help in reaching this goal, strengthened by a true desire for change by the Palestinian media.

In this report, MIFTAH addresses the Palestinian media discourse through the unilateral disengagement process. Although this process officially began on August 15, 2005, MIFTAH began its monitoring for the purpose of preparing the report at the beginning of August and carried through until the end of the month. Hence, it covers the voluntary evacuation of settlers as well as the compulsory evacuation, the start of the demolition of settlements, and coordination between the Palestinian and Israeli sides. Throughout the monitoring period, the Media Monitoring Unit recorded 120 hours of broadcasts from Palestine TV on a daily basis from 7:00 in the evening until 11:00 at night in addition to other time slots in the morning and evening hours that were not recorded but were monitored to corroborate the nature of the overall television coverage. In addition, three Palestinian newspapers were monitored on a daily basis.

To better explain the method of the media coverage of the disengagement and the overall framework in which it was carried out in order to understand the content of the Palestinian media discourse and the messages being sent by the media to the public, the Media Monitoring Unit divided the monitoring subjects into the following categories:

Information presented to the public on the disengagement, the settlements and crossings and the future of lands evacuated by Israel: The Unit’s objective was to understand the nature and context of the press reports and television programs that provided information to the Palestinian public on the disengagement plan including the reasons for the plan, information on the settlements and the evacuation process. The monitoring also included the negotiations with Israel on the Rafah and Mintar crossings and the airport and seaport, in addition to the safe passage between the West Bank and Gaza via the Beit Hanoun crossing, the negotiations over the Salah Eddin axis and the deployment of Egyptian troops. The Unit also aimed at understanding the nature of information presented to the people about the future of lands to be evacuated by Israel, the greenhouses and the industrial zone.

The terminology used by the media for the disengagement process: Was this process a “withdrawal,” “liberation,” “disengagement,” “evacuation,” “departure” or “expulsion?” Also, was the Palestinian media influenced by the statements and language used by Palestinian officials in news bulletins, television programs and in newspapers?

To View the Full Report as PDF (2.33 MB)

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Source: MIFTAH, 21 November. 2005
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