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Hamas TV: Palestinian Media in Transition

Posted by vmsalama on February 26, 2006

From the TBS Academic Journal 

By Vivian Salama

EXCERPT: In late January 2006, the Fatah-controlled Palestinian government announced the closure of Hamas’ new Al Aqsa television network. The station’s demise after only a few weeks on air came as no surprise to those familiar with the tug-of-war that is Palestinian politics. Named in honor of the famous Jerusalem mosque of the same name, Al Aqsa TV had sought to reflect a softer, more civilly responsible side of Hamas, the militant Islamist group that is considered a terrorist organization by the US and Israel. In the months leading up to its January 9 launch, Al Aqsa TV already had sparked considerable controversy, and the Fatah-led government’s move to silence Al Aqsa after less than three weeks on the air ignited a firestorm of anger among Islamists in the West Bank and Gaza. Rael Abu Deir, head of the controversial network, admitted the station did not have a license but complained that he had not been notified of the decision prior to the announcement. “We have been trying for a year (to receive a license),” he told Al Jazeera. “But the information minister told us he was not yet taking applications.” With just three days left before the Palestinian territories’ first parliamentary election in a decade, it seemed that Hamas and the future of Al Aqsa were at the mercy of the ruling Fatah party.


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