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Outreach to Arab Media Focus of Palestinian Conf.

Outreach to Arab Media Focus of Palestinian Media Conference

By Genevieve Cora Fraser

Palestinian media professionals gathered at a Ramallah hotel on Saturday, February 19, to discuss ways to reach out to the Arab media and utilize the latest in media technology, according to the Palestine News Agency (WAFA) and the International Press Center, a service of the Palestinian National Authority.

The conference, "Media in the Arab World-Policies and Ethics," was sponsored by the Kunrad Adinawar Institution, the German institute of Ghuta, the Modern Media Institute of the Al-Quds University and the Beir Zeit University's Media Institute.

While noting there has been a relentless effort to disseminate information, former Palestinian information minister Nabil Amr stressed the need to develop additional Palestinian media outlets, especially on the national level. Traditional media outlets, such as newspaper and radio, have seen their popularity outpaced by the rise of Arab satellite channels in recent years, other participants observed.

"Many Arab TV satellite channels have lately shown broader interest in live broadcast and interviews, analysis and a greater amount of information for the benefit of their viewers," Dawood Kuttab, director of the Al-Quds University-based media institute and a prominent Palestinian writer stated.

According to conference chairman, Hani Almasry, radical change is needed, the kind that reaches out to both the "heart and brain of the world." Arab satellite TV fails to address Arab human suffering, "a real image of the Arab scene," he added.

Dana Sayeigh of the Arabiya satellite TV channel stated that there should be much more focus on human perspectives rather than official stances.

Media professor, Na'umy Saqir, from Westminster University in London stated that the spread of Arab TV satellite channels in the mid 1990s has ensured a large amount of information for the Arab viewers and contributed to deeper intra-Arab relations.

Arab media coverage of the conflicts in both Palestine and Iraq were also under discussion. Being a journalist in Palestine means that you might "pay with your life as a price for honest reporting," Aljazeera TV channel Bureau chief, Walid Al-Omary commented.


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