“Palestinian Spring” unfolds: Freedom of speech suppressed on PA TV



Sept. 12, 2012


“Palestinian   Spring” unfolds:

Freedom   of speech suppressed on PA TV

PA TV mutes broadcast 4 times
when citizens   criticize PA leaders



by Itamar Marcus and Nan   Jacques Zilberdik


During a live broadcast, Palestinian Authority TV chose to   censor PA citizens several times when they openly criticized the PA   leadership. Palestinian Media Watch has documented that PA TV   is directly controlled by Chairman Abbas’ office and serves as a mouthpiece for the government.

A PA TV talk show invited Palestinians to speak during a live   broadcast from Tulkarem, but when they criticized Mahmoud Abbas, Prime   Minister Fayyad and PA government ministers, the government-controlled TV   station decided to silence the protests by muting the sound.
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Neither the PA TV moderator nor the participants were aware that   their words were being censored as they continued their discussions in front   of the camera.


One speaker was silenced when he addressed Abbas and Fayyad,   asking where they were while Palestinians were facing increased prices and   unemployment. His voice was muted from the broadcast four times while he   spoke. While PA TV did not want his message heard, the audience can be seen   applauding him.

Later, a woman addressed Abbas, asking him to explain why her   two daughters, both with university degrees, were unable to find jobs. PA TV   did not let her continue, but censored the rest of her comments.
When someone in the audience exposed the fact that PA TV was muting the   criticism in the broadcast, the moderator announced “a short break with   the director” of the program, promising to return. However, he only   returned to inform the audience that PA TV “wanted to continue the   program, but it’s clear we can’t.”


And thus the “Palestinian Spring” unfolds live on PA   TV.


The following is the   transcript of the relevant parts of the PA TV broadcast:

PA TV host: “We return to you,   sir. What did you want to say?”

Razi in studio audience: “President Abbas, may Allah   protect him, and Prime Minister Dr. Salam Fayyad: Where are you when prices   keep rising? Where are you when there is unemployment? Where are your ministers,   Dr. Salam? They should see the people in the streets. What are we, cows and   donkeys? The Palestinian people has begun to speak…”

[Sound is muted for half a minute while Razi continues speaking   and crowd is cheering.]

Razi: “This is   despicable…”

Host: “The Jews have   failed too.”

Razi: “Whenever prices   go up, you say: ‘The Jews.'”

Host: “Sir, thank you   for…”

[Sound is muted]

Host: “Don’t say such   things.”

Razi: “So arrest   me…”

Host: “I won’t arrest   you, but why fight…”

[Sound is muted]

Host: “I gave you a   chance [to speak]. Let others speak.”

Woman in audience: “I’m the mother of   the Martyrs Muhammad and Mahdi Sa’ade. [Applause.] I wish that Mahmoud Abbas   would explain… One day, as he sleeps on his pillow, he will feel for the   Martyrs’ mothers, and that’s it. I have two daughters who graduated   university, but they still don’t have jobs. If someone had a son…”

[Sound is muted]

Man in audience: “I’ve been told on   the phone that you keep cutting off the sound.”

Host: “Who did I cut off   now? … I won’t let you talk.”

Man in audience: “Don’t cut off the   broadcast, you talk about the youth. We’re the youth.”

Host: “If you don’t   think that this is a live broadcast, don’t be on the program. We have made   this program 40 minutes longer so that you could participate, and now I’ll   let everyone participate.”

“Now I’ll take a short break with the director and we’ll be   back with you.”
[Host returns after a few minutes]

“We had wanted to continue the program, but it’s clear we   can’t.”

[Program abruptly ends.]

[PA TV (Fatah), Sept. 6,   2012]