Local Arab Media
In contrast with the established Hebrew media landscape that includes two Israeli official TV channels, a cable system with 4 local TV channels, an educational channel, 4 official radio channels, and a wide network of local and regional newspapers and radio channels, the Palestinian media scene inside Israel is dismal. Palestinian citizens inside Israel have only a radio channel, but no independent cable channel. Only recently and as a reaction to I’LAM’s work, the government published a public tender for its beginning. As far as the written media is concerned, there is only one Arab daily newspaper and four weekly newspapers published in Israel. Within this context, Arab Palestinian media in Israel faces six main challenges:
LACK OF RESOURCES: Since the establishment of the State, the Arab Palestinian community has been excluded from access to the mainstream government funding or matching funds for local media, filmmakers, film festivals, and media alternatives. Local Arab Palestinian media lacks the basic financial means and technological and personnel infrastructure.
LACK OF INFORMATION SOURCES: Arab Palestinian local media has limited access to information sources.
CENSORSHIP AND DISCRIMINATORY GOVERNMENTAL POLICIES: The media scene in Israel faces significant censorship constraints. Especially Arab journalists are the target of severe restrictions on their freedom of speech.
LOW LEVELS OF PROFESSIONALISM: Arab Palestinian journalists in its majority did not finish a University career. In fact, only a very low percentage of graduated students form mass media and journalism is of Palestinian origin. During their media education, Arab Palestinian students have few opportunities to acquire practical experience and skills in journalism, mainly in TV production. Once graduated, Palestinians also have few opportunities to take key positions within the media business.
CONFLICTING INTERNAL POLICIES : Like any community, the Arab Palestinian media suffers from internal controversies and conflicting interests. However, this problematic situation is exacerbated by fear, intimidation, and a lack of knowledge about their rights.
I'LAM Was Born
In 2000, a group of Palestinian journalists, and academics founded I'LAM, the Media Center for Palestinians in Israel, to address the communicational needs of Arab Palestinians in Israel and to improve the media landscape in Israel. The tragic events of October 2000, known as ”Black October”, shaped the early work of the organization, as it sought to document the massive violence used against Palestinian demonstrators. I’LAM was on the scene of events, filming as they unfolded, and sending the images to various media agencies in Israel and abroad. I’LAM also worked to inform local students and over three thousand people in special lectures organized by I’LAM to discuss the role of the media during the October events.
During 2001 and 2002, I'LAM made the transition into a more professional organization. In additional to providing vital coverage of current events, I'LAM now implements proactive projects to advance its goals. Recent projects include video documentaries, high school awareness-raising sessions, and public policy roundtables for the local media community.
Today I’LAM is a well-established NGO, unique in its focus on empowering the Palestinian Israeli media and helping to strengthen civil society. I'LAM has cultivated strong and productive relations with a range of institutions, foundations, NGO’s, media agencies, and other important actors both nationally and internationally. With its commitment to media democracy in Israel, expertise, professionalism and high level of staff motivation, I’LAM is working daily to invigorate civil society in Israel, and make it more inclusive and balanced towards its Palestinian citizens.
Through our work we aim to shape Israeli media policy to support impartiality, fairness, and equity and to influence Israeli media institutions to adopt more professional and unbiased standards in their coverage of Palestinian citizens of Israel. The empowerment of the Palestinian media landscape and society by promoting open access to the Israeli media, encouraging a fair information-flow, and fostering professional standards in the Palestinian media is an core aspect of our work. In addition we seek to strengthen the commitment of Palestinian media institutions towards the Palestinian society addressing their real media needs. With its work, I’LAM certainly plays a key role in promoting democracy and human rights.
Media Landscape in Israel | Relationship Between the Israeli Media and the Palestinian Citizens of Israel |Local Arab Media | I'LAM Was Born | Goals
- Documented the events of October 2000 (“Black October”) and advocated further, unbiased coverage of this period by the national media.
- Facilitated government tendering for an Arab commercial channel through ILAM’s advocacy program.
- Trained more than 100 Arab Palestinians, mainly students, in various media fields such as new technologies and journalism, TV-production, and writing in journalism.
- Established the first Arab Production Center in Israel.
- Published five reports on the "Media and the Palestinian Society.
- Held nineteen lectures and organized two conferences on the media and Palestinian life, identity, and culture.
- Produced two documentary films and thirteen video reports for cable television about current political, social and cultural events.