(photo credit: COURTESY OF IBA)
A bill requiring the Israel Broadcast Authority's Arabic programming to reflect Israeli Arabs' culture and interests passed a preliminary Knesset vote Wednesday.
The bill by MK Issawi Freij (Meretz) points out that the latest IBA reform includes the establishment of an Arabic-language channel. In order to ensure that the channel has legitimacy in the Israeli-Arab public, the broadcasts should not only include programming translated into Arabic, but those that reflect the viewers' interests, the explanatory portion states.
"The State of Israel deserves quality public broadcasting in Arabic, too, which will be a place for courageous investigative reporting and a reliable source of knowledge and culture that is accepted by Arab society in Israel and perhaps beyond it," the explanatory section reads. "Public broadcast with a reputation of trustworthiness will not hesitate to touch on every topic, as painful or controversial as it may be."
Addressing the Knesset, Freij said that Jews and Arabs in Israel do not trust one another and that the groups must be brought closer together.
"Part of this atmosphere comes from an inability to recognize the culture of the other," Frej posited.
This mistrust also applies to the planned Arabic channel, which Freij said must not be a propaganda arm.
"We want public broadcasts that will not preach to the Arab population, but will let it express itself," he stated.