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How do Palestinian media deal with prisoners issue?
How do Palestinian media deal with prisoners issue?
Palestinian man watches photos of Palestinian prisoners
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By/Fedaa al-Qedra

The Palestinian media have always been a tool to expose the real scenes of the Israeli occupation, its crimes against the Palestinian people and the violations, especially against prisoners in Israeli colonial prisons.

In the light of this, some questions emerge; Do Palestinian media give adequate coverage to the issue of prisoners?, And whether the Palestinian media are moving on with an organized plan or randomly?

Head of the Government Information Office Ihab al-Ghussein affirmed that the Palestinian media is delinquent in the prisoners' issue and do not have enough specialized outlets focusing on the prisoners. The already existed media do not allocate sufficient content for the way in which the prisoners' issues are presented.

Al-Ghussein told ALRAY that "it is necessary and very important to find specialized media at the Palestinian level and develop an integrated national media mechanism to support the prisoners in the Israeli occupation prisons."

Al-Ghussein called on Palestinian journalists and their media institutions to highlight the issue of prisoners extensively and in a specialized way through their different media outlets. "It is necessary to keep the issue present permanently in the media." He added.

He pointed out that "Palestinian media cover the prisoners' issue occasionally and only when something related to the prisoners breaks out. An issue of national consensus, Al-Ghussein urged everybody to take their responsibility toward the prisoners' issue.

Al-Ghussein stressed the need to hold workshops to identify a unified strategic plan among different media means to shed light on all aspects of this case, because the Palestinian media deal with the issue of prisoners as a reaction that vanishes at the end of the event, which might be the death of a prisoner, for instance.


"One hand doesn't clap" 


For his part, the head of Palestinian Media Forum, Imad al-Efranji, said that the Palestinian media address the prisoners issue in various events despite the lack of its capabilities. However, he called for more efforts to highlight the issue.

In an interview with ALRAY, he explained that the media are able to shed more light on the issue of prisoners and make it a global issue, demanding the journalists to unify their efforts with politicians and decision-makers to support the prisoners' issue through a united, comprehensive national strategy. "one hand does not clap," he said.

He urged all media operating in Palestine to support the issue of prisoners and address their news mainly in their coverage.

A progress …but!

Mohammed Mardawi, a journalist and a former prisoner, said that the Palestinian media are dealing with the prisoners' issue better than the past. However, this way of coverage is unsouitable for the future

"Journalists must turn numbers and facts into visual media pieces to gain the solidarity of general and international opinion with Palestinian prisoners," Mardawi explained.

He noted that the Palestinian media don’t create an event. Instead,  Palestinian news organizations allocate coverage for the prisoners only when one of them dies or when they go on hunger strike. "

"If Israel has these numbers or facts, it would show them on the form of many documentaries."  


Making a breakthrough


Director of Al Mezan Center for Human Rights Issam Younis said that the issue of Palestinian prisoners is one of those phenomena that deserve to be considered and analyzed, and also require every Palestinian to show respect for their noble sacrifices, and do more efforts to support them.

In an interview with ALRAY,  he said that media have an important role in serving the different issues. As the debate is focused on a conflict, says Younis, we, the Palestinians, "should rise in our tools to the level that allows us to present our issues in the way they deserve." He added that the tools the Palestinians use should be able to confront the tools that their enemies are using against them. He said that Israel deceives the world via lies that showcase the hangman as the victim.

He stressed on the need of having a specialized and skillful media to serve the prisoners' issue and send their voice to the international community and not just work on the Palestinian arena.

The Prisoners' issue witnesses a growing interaction by the Palestinian media, which aims at boosting Palestinian, Arab and international solidarity with the prisoners in Israeli jails.

The Palestinian media need to focus more on the prisoners' issue and their human suffering, particularly showing individual stories to highlight the humanitarian side of their cases, according to observers, who also think that there should be a qualitative and creative move in dealing with the prisoners' issues.