Hamas TV

are you watching?

My project just got turned down by the Knight Foundation.

It’s not really surprising, but its too bad, because I think it was a good idea.

Hamas TV.

In 1988, I spent a month living in Jabalya, a Palestinian refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Just me and my video camera – and a family. It was my first “VJ” experience, and it convinced me that this was a better way to do television journalism than dragging around a crew. The work I produced aired on MacNeil/Lehrer.

A few years later I was hired by the PBC, the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, to build a VJ-driven station in Ramallah. It’s one of the projects I don’t talk too much about. Six weeks after we started, Arafat closed it down. It wasn’t because of the small cameras, however. My Palestinian journalists took their training about journalism a bit too seriously and went after the Palestinian Authority and corruption. No more TV after that.

Before I got into the TV business I had been in a PhD program (never completed) in Islamic History. My Arabic is no longer so good, but I can still ‘bis’millah with NY taxi drivers, much to their bemusement.

My whole belief is that young Palestinian kids don’t strap explosives to themselves and walk into Israeli cafes to set themselves off because they are protesting Israeli coffee (which is particularly bad). They do it because they are incredibly frustrated and they want to draw attention to the really awful conditions in Gaza.

It’s a crappy way to get attention.

But maybe the solution is not to wall them in, but rather to give them video cameras, teach them to use them, so that they can show the world what is pissing them off so much that they are willing to blow themselves up. (After all, isn’t this the basis of the First Amendment? Free speech, no matter what?)

My idea then was to find 25 or so young Palestinians in Gaza who I would then so empower and train – and train them to make coherent reports on their conditions and situation that anyone could understand – and then to use some of the Foundation money to buy a half hour, once a week, on Israeli television, to air their work. To force a dialogue. To give them an equal field – at least on TV.

It was, I think, an interesting idea. A kind of ‘Citizen News’, but not the kind you would expect to see, or maybe even want to see – but one that you probably should see.

The Foundation did not agree – which is too bad.

They rejected the proposal – but I don’t think it was because of the small cameras, at least.


10 responses to “Hamas TV

  1. i dont agree with a lot of your ideas. but this one i do. are you giving up simply because this one foundation turned you down? why dont you keep at it?what is stopping you?

  2. Interesting topic again.
    Explosive almost.

    Freedom of speech is an American liberty.
    Freedom of religion is also an American liberty. I’m no secretary of state…. but I think perhaps religious freedom in the mideast might be a hangup. Call me crazy. Or call them crazy.
    Again, I’m no Henry Kissinger…so I won’t spend much time on mid east or Palastinian politics. I know there’s a bit of a land dispute over there.

    Would a TV program help solve these issues? Certainly, communication is always a good thing. Bush meets with the two sides on the 26th of November to hopefully get the ball rolling again towards their peaceful co-existence.

    I am all in favor of spreading freedom of speech, the press, and religion to other countries. Allowing all people to voice their opinions, participate in goverment, and vote, etc… are definately good goals. So is freedom of religion.

    Don’t they have high speed internet over there?
    Why do they need a TV program, in this new digital internet age?

    Do they really not hear each other, understand each other’s position, or listen to what they are saying? Or is it a deeper.

    Have a good… American day. No matter who you worship, vote for, believe in. We have it good in this country, yet many take it for granted.

    Perhaps it’s because we’ve had network news programs for decades 😉

  3. Why do they need a TV program, in this new digital internet age?

    I agree – Adobe is now promoting their products as an end to end solution for internet delivery of Internet Broadcast content – Capital expenses would be much less compared to producing for typical broadcast.

    We have it good in this country, yet many take it for granted.

    I see it every day – saddens me greatly.

    Cliff Etzel – Immersive Video Journalist

  4. Dear Eb
    As Hubert Humphrey said, sunshine is the worlds greatest disinfectant.
    Lets put all these ideas out in the open for all to see and debate. Give everyone a platform. We can afford that.
    For places like Gaza, the web does not work. They don’t have the connectivity. Hell, most days the don’t even have the electricity.
    As for buying the airtime on Israeli TV, I want to make the issue unavoidable.
    It is truly amazing, particularly for those of us who observe this from the sidelines, that Palestinians and Israelis, who live but a few miles from each other, often have almost no knowledge of what the other is really like.

  5. There was an article in the NY Times yesterday I think, 11/19/07 about Viacom funding a new “60 Minutes meets Jackass” formatted news show. It talked about interviewing a Hamas leader. If you havent read it, you might want to… then talk to Viacom about your idea.

  6. Quite an interesting idea. Rechanneling these frustrations really is the key.

  7. Here you go Michael some tips on how the commissioning process goes (I can’t bring myself to say “works”) at the moment.

    He actually makes it sound easier than it is.

  8. Allahu akbar!

  9. Assalamualaikum..

    I am Haikal From Indonesia..
    I just want to say Allahu Akbar,,
    go go palestine,, say no israel,,

    di tahun 2022 israel akan hancur,,
    israel anjing,,

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