Excerpts from report by independent, non-governmental Palestinian Ma'an News Agency website
Bethlehem, 5 November: Basim Abu-Sumayyah, director of the Palestinian Radio and Television Corporation, has criticized the Palestinian government for its negligence in improving or repairing the station's equipment, which is in bad shape.
In an interview on Palestine TV, Abu-Sumayyah said the television could stop broadcasting at any moment because its equipment is in constant need of repair. He warned that the station might go off the air because the Palestinian government has not spent any money on buying new equipment.
Abu-Sumayyah, who has been chairman of the organization for three years, said he will hold the Palestinian government responsible for not providing new equipment, should broadcasting stop. He added that the current equipment does not enable the station [in Ramallah] to transmit for 24 hours, especially since Hamas seized and stole the TV station's equipment in Gaza and blocked all transmissions from the Gaza Strip. [passage omitted]
Abu-Sumayyah noted that the corporation's building [in Ramallah] could collapse at any moment, after the occupation forces shelled the building on 19 January 2001 and destroyed the transmission aerials of the Voice of Palestine radio. Since then, Palestine TV's equipment has not been modernized or replaced. [passage omitted]
According to the latest polls, the audience rating of Palestine TV has risen to 22 per cent in the Palestinian territories, from two per cent prior to the Hamas military takeover of the Gaza Strip. [passage omitted]
Palestine TV is considered an important source of news for Palestinian viewers, but this is not reflected in the poor condition of the corporation's building in Ramallah. A visitor to the station sees the burnt and destroyed building, collapsing walls, and a devastated courtyard.
Source: Ma'an News Agency website, Bethlehem, in Arabic 1159 gmt 5 Nov 07