Monday, January 03, 2011

The Palestinian Authority is like Europe says visiting journalist from Dubai on PA TV

Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

"I felt like I was in Europe," said a news reader from Dubai to PA TV, describing her surprise at the quality of life during her visit to the Palestinian Authority city of Ramallah. She explained that her incorrect impressions were because the news reporting likes to focus on bad news: "Bad news is good news," for the media, and "if someone dies, or something is destroyed, then that's newsworthy," she said. Having been witness to only negative reporting about life in the Palestinian areas, the Palestinian journalist who has been living in Dubai added: "I didn't expect to find you alive." But she found life in the PA to be different from the media image and felt as if in Europe. Maisun Azzam, a journalist from Al-Arabiya TV in Dubai, was interviewed on the PA TV talk show, Palestine this morning.

The following is an excerpt from the interview:
PA TV host asks Maisun Azzam: "What is your picture of Palestine?"
Azzam: "Look, the main picture is the picture we see on TV since, unfortunately, in the media bad news is good news for us [journalists]."
PA TV Host: "That's the prominent news."
Azzam: "Yes, the prominent, main news, because if there's different news, we say it's not newsworthy. But if someone dies, or something is destroyed, then that's newsworthy. So, as a Palestinian, I didn't expect to get here, I didn't expect to find you alive, and I said that [also] at Bir-Zeit University. I looked and said, 'You're alive!' I went to the Stones restaurant [in Ramallah] to do an advertising campaign for our director, Nadal Hassan; I felt like I was in Europe."

[PA TV (Fatah), Nov. 29, 2010]

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