Friday, June 15, 2007

Help Keep IBA News On The Air

IBA News in English on both radio and TV is about to disappear. IBA is in financial trouble after years of budget cuts. According to The Jerusalem Post the Israeli state broadcaster may all but disappear. Only one Hebrew radio service, the profitable Reshet Bet, will remain, plus possibly an Arabic language newscast. The Jerusalem Post is asking that supporters of IBA News comment in the talkback section of their article as a form of online petition.

IBA News in English does far more than serve Israeli's small English but non-Hebrew speaking community. Kol Israel Radio's REKA network is also available on the web and their shortwave broadcasts are heard worldwide. NPR and community FM radio stations around the United States rebroadcast Kol Israel news in English. IBA News television broadcasts are offered by satellite and cable channels in the United States as well as on the web.

Link TV is a particularly interesting case in point. Their program Mosaic: World News From The Middle East was originally a collection of excerpts from Arab and Iranian news programs. Arabic and Farsi broadcasts are dubbed in English. Some time back the Jerusalem-born producer of the program, Jamal Dajani, to his great credit, added several minutes of IBA News in English to most programs. Here is a Palestinian journalist who decided to include an Israeli viewpoint into what previously was a broadcast exclusively of Arab/Muslim news with all the anti-Israel material that implies. I may not agree with what Mr. Dajani has to say on many of his Mosaic Intelligence Report commentaries, but I appreciate his efforts to be fair minded and to promote peace and stability in the Middle East. By adding IBA News to Mosaic Mr. Dajani insured that program viewers, many of whom are undoubtedly not sympathetic to Israel, get an opposing viewpoint.

If IBA News in English goes off the air what will replace it? The sad fact is that there isn't anything else that presents a genuine Israeli viewpoint in English. NPR will still broadcast the BBC with it's often strident anti-Israel bias but Israeli news will simply disappear from their stations. Will Jamal Dajani be able to find the resources to bring in a translator for Israeli Hebrew language broadcasts? Will he even have access to Israeli news for his program? I honestly don't know but I fear the answer may be "no". If I'm right about that Mosaic viewers will get all the Arab anti-Israel rhetoric and propaganda with the balancing Israeli viewpoint removed. That won't be Mr. Dajani's fault, will it?

IBA News is vital in that it is the only broadcaster bringing a genuine Israeli perspective to people all over the world. I urge everyone who reads this to click this link and sign the petition. As I write this we have probably no more than 30 hours to make a difference and less than 500 people have signed the petition so far. Please also share this with anyone who you think might be interested.

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