The Forum of Arab Journalists was launched during the Second Annual Arab Media Conference.
The second Arab journalists' conference was held Saturday by I'lam Center in Saint Gabriel Hotel in Nazareth. The crowd included dozens of journalists and media workers, as well as students interested in media issues.
The conference hosted three panels, addressing various aspects of media issues. The topic of the first panel was moderated by journalist, and newly designated Training and Empowerment Coordinator at I’lam, Kholod Massalha. The title was "Organizational Challenges of Local Arab Media". Among the participants was Zuhair Bahloul from Radio Shams, who stressed the need to upgrade journalists' work and fight the idea that the journalist is nothing but a photographer. Ja'afar Farah, director of programs at Hala TV, talked about the latest developments at the channel and described its unsuccessful debut due to the many difficulties encountered. Farah added that the growing number of media outlets is welcome as they provide work opportunities. The journalist Yasser al-’Oqbi, Editor in Chief of Naqab based newspapers Al-Usbuu' Al-Arabi and Sheva, emphasized in turn the connection between substance and the large number of media outlets, saying that the quantity negatively affects the substance and weakens the status of the Arabic language. The journalist 'Ali Waked, editor in chief of the website Youm-Net, compared his experience in the Israeli website Ynet to the Arabic Youm-Net, saying that there is nothing wrong with pluralism; on the contrary, correspondents today should only bring the content, while the editor's responsibility is to frame the content properly.
The headline for the second panel was "Arab Satellite Channels and Coverage of the Palestinian Reality in Israel"; it was moderated by fellow journalist Eman Haddad and joined by the journalist Walid Al-'Omari, chief of Al-Jazeera's bureau in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Al-‘Omari said we must market in the media the problems of Palestinians in Israel, since the coverage on the satellite channels is limited to the political elites, even though the Palestinian problem in general is at the top of the agenda of the satellite channels, not to mention the fact that the image of Palestinians in Israel tends to be stereotypical and incomplete. The journalist Majda Al-Batsh from the French News Agency said that the siege imposed on the Palestinians is joined by the media, although the situation has improved lately. The journalist Firas Khatib from Sky News in Arabic disputed al-Omari's opinion, saying that problems should not be marketed commercially, and stressed the need to establish an Arabic website in English. The journalist Hana' Mahameed, correspondent for Al-Mayadeen, said that in the midst of the changes in the Arab world, the problems of Palestinian in Israel seem the least urgent, but in the last decade, relatively, correspondents have managed to put forth a more accurate description of the community and are not being forced to adopt the terminology of ‘Arab Israelis’ when referring to the community.
The last panel of the Second Annual Arab Media Conference revolved around the subject of "War Broadcast Live… Media Coverage during Wartime", and was moderated by the journalist Jacky Khoury. Dr. Asmaa Ghanayem presented data and information in order to explain the meaning of the term "cyber war", connecting it to the latest events in the Gaza strip. The journalist Amira Hass from Haaretz pointed to the fact that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn't balanced as it is presented in the media. The journalist Muhammed al-Daraghmeh, journalist at AP, stressed the need to design a clear media strategy to emphasize effectively how Palestinian society is occupied and not an enemy of Israel. The journalist Suleiman al-Shafa'ee talked about his experience in the Israeli media during past attacks on Gaza, pointing to the fact that the media is used strictly for propaganda, especially during live broadcasts, when analysts and politicians use the platform to express personal opinions.