(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
A joint study found that Arabs interviewees are underrepresented in Hebrew broadcast media at a rate of only 2 percent, and a group of organizations plan to monitor their representation, Edan Ring, director of public affairs at Sikkuy, an NGO involved in the equal media project, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
“The Hebrew media influences public opinion and the way Arabs are viewed by the Jewish public,” Ring said, adding that most Arabs that appear in the media are related to the Arab-Israel conflict or terrorism.
“What about having Arab doctors and experts on various subjects also being on TV or radio?”
Sikkuy – the Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality, the Berl Katznelson Foundation and media critique website the Seventh Eye cooperated in sponsoring this study of Hebrew TV and radio stations. In addition, the project involves regularly monitoring of the number of Arabs appearing in the media.
Each week a report is to be published on the Seventh Eye website, Ring said, pointing out that they then would be able to present the data to editors and push for more Arab inclusion.
For example, from January to February, 128 Arabs appeared on Channel 2 out of a total of 5,528 guests, or 2.3%. And if Arab MKs are removed, then only 1.4% of those interviewed are Arabs.
Channel 10 had 135 Arabs out of a total of 6,517 people for 2.1%, and Israel Radio had 155 Arabs out of 6,405, according to their data.
He argued that the lack of Arabs in Hebrew broadcast media “causes Jews to think Arabs are not part of the state.”
Furthermore, he claimed, since Arabs tend not to live, study or socialize with Jews, “the only place they see Arabs is on TV.”
Regarding what he thinks should be done, he said that the media needs to set target numbers similar to affirmative action.
Questioned why they concentrated on only TV and radio and not print, he responded that big ratings come from broadcast media and much of their news trickles down into print.
Asked about the lack of Jews appearing in local Arab media, Ring said that Hebrew media influences the dominant Jewish majority whereas Arabic media is sectorial.
Eran Hermoni, manager of the ideological Center at the Berl Katznelson Foundation, told the Post that “the media has failed by not showing reality.”