A new campaign is pushing major media outlets to invite Arab experts to speak on their area of expertise. It seems the media landscape is responding — for the better.
By Oren Persico
New data reveals that leading Israeli news stations are inviting more Arab experts on news programs, following growing pressure by leading Israeli NGOs.
According to The Seventh Eye website’s “Representation Index,” around 40 Arabs were invited to speak about their area of expertise on the five leading Israeli media outlets during the month of April. This was a decrease from March, yet an increase from January and February when the index was launched.
The Representation Index provides quantitative and qualitative analysis of Arab citizens of Israel who are interviewed on leading news and current affairs programs on three major Israeli television channels (1, 2 and 10), and on radio stations IDF Radio (Galei Tzahal) and Reshet Bet. Each week, The Seventh Eye publishes data about the number and ratio of Arab interviewees during the previous week on the five channels and the 19 main news programs broadcasted in Israel.
In addition The Seventh Eye publishes more in-depth findings once a month, assessing which of the interviewees were interviewed simply because they were Arabs and which were interviewed because their area of expertise was relevant to the issue at hand.
According to April’s statistics, 38 Arab experts took part in news programs on Channels 1, 2, and 10, along with Reshet Bet and Army Radio. For the third month running, Reshet Bet is at the top of the list with 15 different experts appearing on various programs. In second place is Channel 10 (11 experts), followed by Army Radio, Channel 1, and Channel 2 (6, 4, and 2 experts respectively).
The distinction between non-expert and expert is based on the idea that Arabs who are invited to speak on programs due to their expertise are viewed in a positive light. Those who are invited to speak solely because they are Arabs are usually covered in a negative light.
Arab politicians, who are the most commonly featured in the Israeli media, are not defined as experts. For example, in April MK Zouheir Bahloul (Zionist Union) was interviewed 40 times due to controversial statements he made that month. This was higher than the total number of appearances by all the other Arab experts in the media.
The ratio...Read More