Improve programs, IBA told, or Arabs will look to Hamas TV

Chairman of IBA's Arabic broadcasting c'tee warns of influences on Israeli Arabs by neighboring countries' broadcasts.

October 23, 2007 22:36
1 minute read.
Improve programs, IBA told, or Arabs will look to Hamas TV

hamas lion king 224.88. (photo credit: AP)

If the Israel Broadcasting Authority doesn't upgrade and expand its Arabic-language broadcasts, Israeli Arabs will be overly dependent on television and radio programs produced by Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, the IBA has been told. Khalil Rinawi, chairman of the IBA's Arabic broadcasting committee, on Sunday presented the plenum with the results of a survey commissioned by Edmond Sehayek, the IBA's director of Arabic broadcasting. Even though Israeli Arabs make up some 20 percent of the population, Rinawi said, Arabic broadcasts - in terms of airtime, content and standards - were woefully inadequate. Some Israeli Arabs were already ill-disposed to Israel, and therefore open to influences from broadcasts from neighboring countries, he said. Israeli Arabs believed some local news shows, such as Channel 1's Mabat, were more reliable, but Mabat is in Hebrew and not everyone in the Arab community is sufficiently fluent in Hebrew to be able to follow it, he added. Rinawi said Arabic broadcasts in Israel had, for the most part, deteriorated over the years. At the same time, he said, programs produced in the Arab world had become more sophisticated and entertaining. Commercial and cable channels, as well as regional radio stations, should also upgrade their Arabic-language programming, Rinawi said. Arabic is a first language for a large segment of Israel's Jewish population, he added. Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog, the government minister responsible for the IBA, and National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer have also urged the government to pay greater attention to Arabic broadcasting, but to no avail.

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