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2002-06-03

Fighting for a Free Media in Palestine: An Interview with Palestinian Journalist Daoud Kuttab

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The new director of the Israel Broadcasting Authority Yosef Barel banned the use of the term "settlers" from the airwaves late last week.

The instructions to editors came after the Environmental Affairs Minister told Barel he should put an end to the frequent use of the term 'settler' in the IBA’s radio and television broadcasts.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post is reporting that Israel has laid the foundations for some 40 new settlements in the past few months alone.

Today we are going to talk to Daoud Kuttab, a Palestinian journalist who has spent his life fighting for a free media in Palestine. Kuttab has a long history of fighting censorship by the Israeli authorities. He was the first Palestinian to conduct interviews with Israeli leaders like Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, while reporting for the Arabic-language daily, Al-Quds in the early nineties. Kuttab was repeatedly arrested and searched by the Israeli authorities for participation in public demonstrations against Israeli press censorship.

In 1994 Yasser Arafat ordered Al-Quds to stop publishing Kuttab’s columns after he led independent journalists in a protest against the banning of Al-Nahar, Jerusalem’s only other Arabic-language daily at the time. Al-Quds gave in, and fired Kuttab. But he refused to be silenced. Kuttab continued to write critical pieces for the international press, including the New York Times and the Washington Post.

But the censorship is an ongoing pattern. During the occupation of Ramallah in April, Israeli forces took over Al Quds Educational Television, a project of Institute of Modern Media at Al Quds University in Jerusalem, where Kuttab is the director. They took the station off the air and destroyed hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment before they left.

Guest:

  • Daoud Kuttab, Palestinian journalist and director of the Institute of Modern Media at Al Quds University in Jerusalem.

Related link:

Music:

  • Superimposition/Kafi–Paranoise, ISHQ (Ancient Records CD).

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