The first privately owned English language daily, the Palestine Times, was launched in the West Bank and Gaza on Monday, with its editors aiming to provide news about the region to English speakers abroad. The 12-page newspaper will cover Palestinian affairs, the conflict with Israel and developments in the Arab community in Israel, said its editor-in-chief, Othman Haj Mohammed.
Al-Jazeera enters the information war - in English (Up Front, Nov. 14)
A response to Al Jazeera (op-ed)
The newspaper is not affiliated with any Palestinian parties, Mohammed said. The op-ed page of Monday's edition included articles by the spokesman from the Hamas government, the spokesman of the rival Fatah Party and an independent analyst.
With an initial circulation of 5,000 and a newsstand price of just over $1, the newspaper will be distributed in the West Bank and Gaza. Sales in Israel and an Internet edition are also planned.
Monday's edition led with a story on an emerging Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire. Other front-page stories included a report on the inactivity of the Palestinian parliament and on the battle between a West Bank village and the IDF over construction permits.
Mohammed said his paper plans to cover life in the West Bank and Gaza from a Palestinian perspective. "Many foreign mass media have been telling the Palestinian story with their standards. Now it is time for us to tell the world our story with our standards," he said.
Khalil Shaheen, an editor at the Arabic-language Al Ayyam daily, said he expects the Palestine Times to fill a gap in the Palestinian media market. "For the first time, we are going to have a daily Palestinian English language (newspaper) that can print the Palestinian account of events taking place here," he said. "I think there is a need for such a newspaper to address the world in the most suitable language."
Three Arabic language dailies are published in the Palestinian territories, all with ties to the Palestinian Authority. Two English language weeklies folded after several years.
In recent years, a number of Internet news services have begun covering the Palestinian territories, some with foreign funding aimed at strengthening democracy in the West Bank and Gaza.