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West Bank and Gaza: Al-Aqsa TV view achievements, holds ceremony on first anniversary

BBC Monitoring

In its 0530 gmt newscast, announcer Muhammad Qa'ud announces the first anniversary of the launching of the Al-Aqsa Satellite Television "in light of the persecution of its employees in the occupied West Bank by the Abbas's forces."

The station dedicates its 0700 gmt morning talk show to the first anniversary of its establishment. Moderator Muhammad Hamdan conducts a 30-minute interview with Imad al-Ifranji, head of the Palestinian Journalists Forum, author, and journalist.

Asked about the contribution of the Al-Aqsa TV, Al-Ifranji says it "is a qualitative addition" to the Palestinian media, because previously there was no "Palestinian media institution that was able to relay to the world the truth of what is happening in the Palestinian territories." He further notes that the television presented a new model of information, which we can say the media of resistance, steadfastness, and opposition."

Al-Ifranji notes that the station's programmes ta! ckle "the main issues" of the Palestinian cause, adding that its special programmes on Jerusalem and its continuous reports on it increased the Palestinian people's awareness of its sanctity and the developments in it. He further alludes to the station's role in tackling the issue of right of return "and the schemes being hatched behind the scenes" regarding it. Al-Ifranji says the station has dealt with the identity of the future Palestinian state, prisoners, and martyrs. He also points to the station's unique cultural programmes for children, women, and youths.

Al-Ifranji praises the station's Islamic and national songs, which are not offensive to the public as "they safeguard the sanctity of homes and our Islamic customs and history." He also highly praises the terms that the station uses, such as the term "occupied" that reminds the whole world that the Palestinian territories are still under occupation even if some Arab satellite televisions deal with Israel as a! fait accompli. He indicates that it is important to deal "with the ex istence of a Zionist entity.... inside the Arab lands that prevents the connection between Arabs and Muslims."

In conclusion, Al-Ifranji notes that more resources should be provided to the station to improve the quality of the images and sound. He also notes the need for a greater number of Palestinian-produced programmes.

Hamdan then interviews Jamal Nassar, member of the Al-Aqsa TV board of directors, and treasurer of the Al-Aqsa Media Network. He recalls the establishment of Al-Aqsa radio, the Al-Aqsa terrestrial television, and finally the Al-Aqsa Satellite Television, the success of which he attributes to "the mujahidin journalists" who were keen on sending the message of Hamas to the entire world.

He further elaborates on the difficulties that the station's administration faced prior to the establishment of the satellite television. Among other things, he mentions its budget "that does not reach one tenth of that of the Palestine Satellite TV." He not! es that the moderators earn between 200 to 500 dollars, because "our youths make do with meagre wages because they are conveying a message."

Asked about the abundance of religious programmes by prominent religious figures, Nassar notes that the aim is "to revive faith, religion, and the spirit of jihad," adding that the religious persons are the best persons to present Islamic beliefs to the common people. In conclusion, Nassar comments on the PNA's outlawing of Al-Aqsa TV and other media outlets in the West Bank saying that "Fayyad's government has a specific agenda and is there for a reason." He adds that were it not for its "pursuit and oppression of the entire Palestinian resistance project, the government in Ramallah would have no reason to exist."

Finally, Hamdan interviews Imad Zaqqut, head of Al-Aqsa TV production department, who discusses the launch of the channel's news desk and production department, saying that "at the beginning the channel consisted! onl y of the news desk and funds were practically non-existent."

< p>Asked about the channel's news coverage policy and about claims by some that its coverage is "not objective," Zaqqut says that "we cannot be objective towards the Israeli aggression," adding that "by the same token, we cannot remain objective to the killing of our people at Palestinian hands." He acknowledges the fact that the channel does refer to some Fatah members as "the treacherous trend," explaining that "we could not stand idly by, watching the domestic events in the Gaza Strip and simply say that clashes were taking place between two opposing factions."

Regarding the professional development of TV personnel, Zaqqut says that the Al-Aqsa Training Centre, which is part of the Al-Aqsa Media Network, was set up to train new cadres of capable announcers, producers, directors, and technicians.

At 1330 gmt, the channel airs a live 55-minute "Special Encounter" in which moderator Hamid Abu-Hirbid interviews Al-Aqsa TV announcers Tamir al-Sharif and Raji al-Hams! ; Ibrahim Lubbad, head of the channel's news production department; and Samir Abu-Muhsin, head of the directing department. All four guests discuss the early beginnings of the Al-Aqsa TV and view the current conditions and future prospects.

At 1537 gmt, the satellite channel carries live the proceedings of a public ceremony in Gaza organized by the Al-Aqsa Media Network to commemorate the first anniversary of the channel's launch. Presiding over the ceremony are TV announcers Tamir al-Sharif and Raji al-Hams, while the attendees include many prominent media and Hamas political figures. Speeches are delivered by a number of speakers, including Fathi Hammad, head of the Al-Aqsa Media Network, and deposed Health Minister Basim Na'im, speaking on behalf of deposed Prime Minister Isma'il Haniyah. The ceremony also includes a number of musical interludes with nationalistic songs. At the end of the event, certificates of merit are presented to several individuals responsible! for the channel's launch and daily operations.

< em>Source: Al-Aqsa Satellite TV, Gaza, in Arabic 25 Nov 07



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