Media and Telecommunications Landscape in the West Bank and Gaza

Cover: Media Landscape - West Bank and Gaza
Author(s):
Internews

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Media

In Gaza, different political factions own the majority of the 25 radio stations. There are two terrestrial and satellite TV channels, Palestine TV and Al Aqsa. Palestine TV is part of the Palestinian Broadcast Corporation (PBC) under the President’s office and Al Aqsa is owned and operated by Hamas.

The majority of the radio stations have offices and broadcast from Gaza City. Forsan al Erada for the Handicapped, funded by United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA), is located in Deir al Balah, in central Gaza, approximately 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) south of Gaza City.

In the West Bank there are 17 terrestrial TV stations and 72 radio stations.  With the exception of four radios that are national, the local media is limited in its coverage to the governorates.

The majority of stations are in Hebron, Nablus and Ramallah. There are several stations that are owned by different factions. And there are also several community or village stations broadcast primarily on the Internet.

Internews has twelve radio and television partner stations in Jenin, Tulkarem, Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Hebron, in addition to two in Gaza, who are members of the Jossor Radio and Television Network.

The Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC), now headquartered in Ramallah after the 2007 takeover of Gaza by Hamas, has a terrestrial and satellite television as well as a national radio and news agency.

The Voice of Palestine Radio, part of the PBC, uses the FM signal and has three towers to broadcast in Gaza because since 2007, the Al Aqsa radio took over the Palestine TV’s terrestrial signal to broadcast their station in Gaza. There are three other satellite stations based in the West Bank that are privately owned.

There are three main newspapers in the West Bank, Al Quds (published in Jerusalem), Al Ayyam (published in Ramallah) and Al Hayat Jedida (also published in Ramallah). There is one newspaper published in Gaza called Resela.

There are approximately eighteen local news agencies with locations in both Gaza and the West Bank.

Telecommunications & Internet

As of 29 July, two mobile phone towers have been destroyed so the communications from the center of Gaza to the south is not working well as the companies are scrambling to divert phone services to other towers in the vicinity.

In the last 10 years, the number of young people with access to mobile phone has doubled - 75.2% of young people own a mobile phone (79.4% in the West Bank against 68.5% in the Gaza Strip) compared to 34.9% in 2004. This ratio varied significantly by gender with 86.3% among males and 63.7% among females, according to data of Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) and Ministry of Telecommunications 2011.

The Internet is working in some locations in Gaza City including parts of the southern city of Khan Younis but not in other areas due to damaged infrastructure and communications towers. There is also damage to the electrical grid so most of Gaza is today without electricity.

For 28% of youth in between 18-35 years the Internet is now their primary source of information while 25% of people use the Internet daily.1  Among 49.9% of youth aged 15-29 years in the Palestinian Territory do not read newspapers or magazines at all - 40.4% in the West Bank and 65.1% in Gaza Strip (Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), 2013). 

In 2013, 67.5% among young people in the age group of 15-29 years use the computer (70.4% in the West Bank and 62.7% in Gaza Strip) and 43.0% use e-mail (PCBS, 2013).

Although Twitter has been slow to catch among Palestinians, the interest and usage has increased in the three years since the Arab uprising.  In 2013, the total number of active Twitter users reached 36.800 according to www.socialbakers.com.

The number of Facebook users is the third highest in the region with over 1,987,000 making it #81 in the ranking of all Facebook statistics by country (www.socialbakers.com), in an area with a population of approximately 4 million. 

1 Internews November 2013 Survey

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