The director of the Al Aqsa Voice radio station in Gaza, Ibrahim Daher, has said that Palestinian media was currently experiencing "special circumstances" due to political division between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
"The division took a wide portion of the Palestinian media, which negatively affected key Palestinian issues, such as the occupation, the right of return, Jerusalem and the matter of prisoners," he said.
Daher said in an interview with Arabstoday: “Perhaps those causes would have had the media coverage hey deserve if there was no political division.”
He added that local Palestinian media had a key role in ending the division through defusing tension on both sides. He said audience awareness of principal issues would hold leaders more accountable.
Regarding the journalist’s union - Daher is on the board of directors for the Gaza branch - he said that despite the fact that the syndicate was controlled for years by some Ramallah journalists who belonged to the Fatah movement, "we could rise up with the our Gaza union, and could run transparent elections which produced a national union".
About his opinion on division in Palestinian media represented by the existence of two unions, one in Gaza and the other in the West Bank, Daher said: “We have communicated during the last months with the journalist’s union in the West Bank in order to convene unified meetings and we have agreed to perform unified elections, however they refused to honour their agreements. Transparent elections in Gaza were a necessity imposed by the need of a single body, which has been absent for long years, to take in the media,” stating “communication with Fatah media in the West Bank almost does not exist.”
As for efforts made by the Gaza body for the advancement of Palestinian media, Daher said: “We are sparing no effort in following up technical and professional developments, as media delegations have been consecutively sent for courses in Qatar, Syria and other countries to take advantage of external expertise.”
On the current circumstances of Al Aqsa Voice after it had been bombarded by Israel during the last Gaza wae, Daher said: “It was a new stage by all means, in terms of the persistence to continue work."
He added that working conditions for the media in Gaza had their own characteristics, in terms of the high frequency of aggression and unstable security, "which puts us in a state of permanent standby for crisis management”.