Since the ‘Representation Index’ was launched, however, that number has gone up — dramatically. The index also tracks whether Arabs are interviewed in positive or negative contexts.
By Oren Persico
Only a month after being launched, a new initiative aimed at fostering more fair and equal representation and coverage of Arab citizens in Israeli media has had a dramatic, positive impact on the number of Arab experts interviewed on Israeli television and radio broadcasts.
The “Representation Index,” an initiative of Sikkuy, the Berl Katznelson Foundation and “The Seventh Eye” website, revealed that even though one of every five Israelis is Arab, the percentage of Arab interviewees in the main Israeli media is a mere 2-3 percent, sometimes even less. Removing members of Knesset from the equation, Arab representation drops to 1.5 percent. The index, which monitors radio and television news broadcasts, has been published every week since March 1.
The 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.
Data collected in the first three months of the project revealed that since March 1 there has been a significant increase in the number of Arab experts interviewed in the Israeli media. Whereas in January there were 29 interviews with Arab experts on the five leading Israeli television stations, and in February there were 31, during March, after the publication of the first findings of the Representation Index, the number of Arab experts interviewed increased to 51 — 1.7 times more than the earlier months.
The index also monitors the framing and context of every interview, and notes the number of Arab experts interviewed about the topic of their expertise on each program. For instance, it includes in-depth findings that assess which of the interviewees were interviewed simply because they are Arabs and which were interviewed because their area of expertise was relevant to the topic or issue being discussed.
For example, an eyewitness to a car accident that took place in a majority Arab area of the country isn’t considered to be an “expert.” By contrast, a sociologist specializing in youth delinquency who is interviewed regarding her professional views on violence among Israeli youth is defined as an expert. Arab MKs, among the most popular Arab interviewees...Read More