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Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation to become independent public institution, not government run

Yasser Abd Rabbo is the Secretary General of the PLO Executive Committee and General Supervisor of the official media.
As of March 2011, the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation has still not been become an independent public institution.

Headline:
“Abd Rabbo: Presidential directive to transform the [Palestinian] Broadcasting Corporation into an independent public institution”

     “Yasser Abd Rabbo, General Supervisor of the official media, has revealed that President Mahmoud Abbas, in his role as chairman of the PLO, recently issued a presidential directive resolving to convert the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation and Palestinian television from a governmental institution into an independent public institution, in terms of administration and financing…

According to the second section of this directive, a public council will be established, under the name ‘The Public Council for Palestinian Broadcasting and TV”, subordinate to the President and enjoying the status of a legal entity and financially and administratively independent, legally capable of carrying out all the actions necessary to fulfill its aims…

Abd Rabbo said: ‘We have started to proceed in the right direction… to achieve a TV and radio broadcasting that will express the will of our Palestinian society in all its shades and contradictions, and [such] that the TV will not be the mouthpiece of the government, with an attempt to dictate to society and to direct it as the government sees fit…’.

Abd Rabbo said that this institution would be subservient to the direction of [Palestinian] society, which would be represented by a Board of Directors comprised of representatives from the range of sectors, streams, and parties and the social forces… [He] added: The identity of this TV is the identity of most of the Palestinian society and nation, flowing from the PLO plan [i.e., excluding Hamas] and defense of the national enterprise of self-liberation and independence and the establishment of a pluralistic and democratic society; a state orientated towards openness, and not to limitation in the chains of reactionism and darkness. [An allusion to Hamas.]

Concerning the previous stage in the history of the PBC, Abd Rabbo said: ‘All the illnesses of the bureaucratic institutions in many countries, existed [also] in the PBC. Therefore we have now embarked on a new stage. The previous stage, up until last month, was a stage of rehabilitation and revival of this institution. And therefore the stage that will follow the issuing of the presidential directive, is a new stage, and today we have embarked on it, with a real Board of Directors for this institution, as a public institution enjoying full transparency.’…

On the other hand, Abd Rabbo noted that half of the programs on PA TV are produced by external media institutions…

In response to the question, Abd Rabbo said: ‘As for Hamas and [Islamic] Jihad, we invited them twice or three times [to participate], and afterwards they withdrew and refused to appear… I repeat once again that there is a place open for Hamas and for the Jihad; we are not limiting anyone.’…

In response to journalists’ questions concerning the hosting of Israeli personalities, and whether this was considered normalization, Abd Rabbo said: ‘The [new] TV is not a faction, nor the police… It is not a faction, meaning, it does not have its own political opinion. Rather, it is the program of all programs, and the outlook of all outlooks. We are not a political faction: we are a stage for all the factions and worldviews and opinions. Our mission is to allow all these opinions to reach the public and to develop, in keeping with a modern outlook. Our role is to present all forms of service to our citizens, and even if the Israeli Prime Minister wants to speak on PA TV, let him go ahead.’…

As to the Israeli accusations against PA TV concerning incitement, Abd Rabbo said: ‘They use this statement against us. We make efforts, out of our own values, that there should be no propaganda or incitement. Racist propaganda is forbidden by us, as are all forms of incitement that are in opposition to human values. But if they believe that talking about their violations of human rights is incitement, that’s not our business.’

On the other hand, Abd Rabbo denied the existence of any sort of censorship on PA TV programs, saying: ‘We do not impose censorship on the programs; rather, we set down the parameters and the requirements and the principles for the programs.’…

In response to a question concerning the dependence of the new TV Council on the President, Abd Rabbo said: ‘We find ourselves in circumstances involving political turbulence, and we are unable to hold elections… Therefore, the only [and] most stable body is the PLO and the Presidency. Therefore, the [TV] Council is subordinate to the PLO Chairman. Likewise, the PLO enjoys symbolic status, as an all-encompassing national source of authority, and we seek to build a public institution which will be one of the institutions of the future Palestinian state.’

Abd Rabbo promised that within a month, PA TV would have an Internet site.”

Note: The “Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation” has a website with a PA government website address: http://www.pbc.gov.ps, but most of the site is inactive, including the link to the English version of the site. There is no way of accessing the Board of Directors.
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