‘PA journalists depend on Israeli media’

PA media did not have enough information on the launch of direct talks in Washington; Palestinian officials preferred to talk to Israeli and Western reporters.

Israeli journalists are more informed about developments in the Palestinian territories than their Palestinian colleagues, Abdel Naser Najjar, chairman of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate in the West Bank, said over the weekend.
Palestinian Authority officials have always preferred to talk to the Israeli and foreign media, Najjar complained.
The PA media were forced to rely heavily on Israeli reporting of last week’s ceremony to launch direct talks in Washington. Some Palestinian editors said that PA officials who traveled to Washington preferred to talk to Israeli and Western journalists, as well as to popular pan-Arab TV channels such as Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya.
“Palestinian officials must start providing the Palestinian media with information and news scoops,” Najjar said. “They must have confidence in the Palestinian media.”
The Palestinian officials believed that dealing with Israeli and foreign media would bring more exposure, he said. “The Israeli media have more sources among Palestinians than the local Palestinian media. We hope this situation will change and Palestinian journalists will be the first to publish scoops.”
The journalists syndicate in the West Bank is dominated by Fatah loyalists who refrain from reporting anything that may anger the PA leadership or reflect negatively on it.
Two of the three main Palestinian newspapers – Al-Hayat al-Jadida and Al-Ayyam – are directly funded by the PA, which also appoints reporters and editors.
Al-Quds, the only privately-owned newspaper, has become over the years a semi-official publication reflecting the views of the PA leadership.