Gaza - Mohammad Habib
An Al Arabiya television correspondent in Gaza has described conditions for TV journalists in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as "terrible", saying that the national division between Fatah and Hamas has reflected negatively on the region's press coverage, as journalists are wont to report according to their political affiliations.
In an interview with Arabstoday, Al Arabiya's Hanan Al-Masry said she faced many problems while trying to report on certain issues, due to the tension caused by the political division between the governments of Gaza and the West Bank.
"As a correspondent I can't be blind towards some issues that should be reported and discussed, but when I try to research them I face many obstacles that prevent me from reaching the truth," said Al-Masry.
"Those who hinder the work of journalists have no idea about the importance of the press in any country. I'm not saying we don't have press freedom in Gaza, however, we face a lot of obstacles in our work," she added.
Al-Masry insisted that the TV channel she works for [al-Arabiya] doesn't prevent her from addressing certain issues, but there were certain taboo topics due to the political and security conditions in the strip.
On recent developments in the Palestinian political reconciliation, Al-Masry said she believed there was no true will from either Fatah or Hamas to finalise the deal.
"I'm frustrated by the renewed hopes both movements give to the Palestinian people for this issue every time, after which everything returns to Square One...the people will not sustain this division for long, and it is for the benefit of both Fatah and Hamas to end this division before the people revolt against them," she said.
Al-Masry argued that the Palestinian media should play a supportive role in ending national division in Palestinian territories, stressing that media institutions must fulfill their national commitment in addressing people's problems.
The Palestinian correspondent criticised what she described as "chaos" in her homeland's press industry, especially regarding the large number of unqualified personnel who join media institutions every year, "which affects the quality of Palestinian media".
She also commented on the division witnessed in the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate which divided into two unions, one in Gaza and the other in West Bank.
"The Journalists Syndicate is a historic institution that should be respected and preserved by the diverse political parties in the country, and it shouldn't be affected by any political differences. Actually I didn't cast my vote in either of the two syndicates' elections, as I don't accept the current division," said Al-Masry.
Al-Masry reflected a dark image of living conditions in Gaza Strip, saying residents suffered from a "pyramid of problems", which both Fatah and Hamas were responsible for.
"The innocents who can't find medicine for their illness are the ones who ultimately pay the price," she said.
About her experience as a female correspondent working in a volatile place like Gaza, Al-Masry told Arabstoday she tended to live a quiet life and not side herself with any political parties, as her only affiliation was to the people whose suffering she tried to highlight.
"I always look forward to serving my people's cause, especially as I'm granted a rare chance to work through a huge media institution which is seen by almost all Arab viewers," she said.
Al-Masry admitted she faces a lot of problems as a female correspondent working in a conservative society which is not used to the idea of women working in TV journalism.
"I am confident though that women have a bright future in the field especially if they are granted equal chances with men, for leading positions in particular," she finished.