Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera … but where’s Al Israela?

by Maskil on June 9, 2009

We’ve come to understand that the way in which Israel’s military conflicts are portrayed in the media constitute another front in the war against her;  one which she is losing ground on.

Over the past few decades, each time that Israel is obliged to defend itself, its citizens or its interests (or trample over the Middle East in hob-nailed boots, depending on who you listen to) the call has gone out for a global TV news/current affairs channel that reflects the Israeli case and perspective on events.

The need for such a channel became blindingly obvious during the 1st Hezbollah War (2006) and again during the 1st Hamas War (2009), but on each occasion the awareness appears to have faded before any concrete steps were taken.

I was therefore please to come across this reference (on Twitter) to a proposed “Israel World TV” service. According to the Twitter bio:

Israel World News will be a global cable news network based out of Jerusalem. Click on the URL to view the demo [File Size: 95.34 MB]. Investment info. available.

Additional information regarding Israel World News Television is contained in this Press Release.

So, will this be Israel’s answer – not just to Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera and the like – but also to BBC World News, CNN, FOXNews and Sky News (my personal favourite), all of whose coverage of Israel tends to be tilted against her to a greater or lesser extent? Let’s hope so. If not, then perhaps other initiatives to establish what I’ve come to refer to as the “Al Israela” cable/satellite TV channel will eventually bear fruit.

As always, I have a few thoughts regarding the outlines of such a service:

  • It should be available worldwide
  • It should be free-to-air
  • It should broadcast 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • It should eventually broadcast in all the major world languages (starting with English and other European languages)
  • It should be available as a conventional TV broadcast in Israel and the Middle East, and as a cable/satellite TV channel worldwide (without subscription)
  • Anyone with a suitable satellite dish should be able to tune in to the station, but strenuous efforts should also be made to have it included in as many cable/satellite TV bouquets as possible worldwide

Some observers have pointed out that a wealth of video material with a Hasbara orientation is available from various Israeli and Jewish video websites. This is not the answer, or at least not yet. This material is only available to those with a computer (or with easy access to one) and a broadband Internet connection. A TV set (with or without a satellite dish) on the other hand, is almost ubiquitous, at least in the Western world. In addition, these services rely on the user “pulling” the material to him/her; the desirable model is for the material to be “pushed” out on the airwaves. (This is not to say that these clips and inserts (in some cases fully-fledged programs) should not be made available for re-broadcast on Al Israela; that would be the best of both worlds.)

In the meantime, the answer to my question “Will @IsraelWorldNews finally give us an “Al Israela” cable/satellite TV channel?” was “Soon!”. Let’s hope so!

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