Sunday, 29 April 2007

Tuning into peace in stereo

By Khaled Diab

All for Peace is the only joint Palestinian-Israeli radio station around. This unique media voice is 50% Israeli and 50% Palestinian. Likewise, the content is also balanced equally, and the gender mix is finely tuned.

"Our main objective is to disseminate information that does not fall within the agendas of both people's media - which are, on the whole, too nationalistic," Faris Arouri, the station's public and international relations coordinator, told me. "We seek to spread accurate information about life on the other side because there are a lot of misconceptions, particularly on the Israeli side, because they are the dominant power."

The most troubling misconception on both side, as Faris puts it, is that "the Israelis fear we want to drive them into the sea; we fear they want to drive us across the Jordan". But minefields of misperceptions in terms of culture, society and religion litter the chasm between the two peoples.

The station, which goes out in 107.2 fm, has seen its mission evolve from directly striving for peace to building the solid ground on which it can take root. "At first, it was about convincing people of the need for peace. Now it's about giving hope. We always endeavour to give unbiased coverage."

Civil society, which does good work but is often overlooked by the mainstream media, has pride of place at All for Peace.

The station has been a success, attracting some 40,000 simultaneous listeners at peak moments, and a total of around 100,000 listeners per day.

One of All for Peace's most spectacular scoops was a conversation it broadcast between Noam Shalit, the father of the abducted Israeli soldier in Gaza, Gilad, and the Popular Resistance Committees Spokesman Abu Mujahad.

"After their conversations, each side said that only dialogue and prisoner exchange would secure Gilad's release. The father even said that if Israel attacked Gaza to try to rescue his son and his son died, he would hold his government responsibile for Gilad's death," noted Faris.

But the station's greatest achievement, according to Faris, are not spectacular scoops but the gradual demystification of the other side. "The biggest success of the station is that it gives people on both sides the chance to humanise one another, instead of focusing only on the suffering and agony."

©Khaled Diab. Text and photos


munaeem said...

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Lirun said...

your blog is amazing..

Khaled Diab said...

Thank you for the good wishes.