While Israeli-Arabs make up 19% of the population, their representation in the media stands at only 1%, a report published by Agenda, The Israeli Center for Strategic Communication, revealed Sunday.
Moreover, the study found that the large broadcasting channels, internet sites and major production companies employ a very small number of Arabs among their staff.
Conducted by Prof Gadi Wolfsfeld of the Hebrew University, the study examined the representation of Israeli Arabs in the Hebrew-speaking media in Israel between June 2006 and May 2007.
According to the study, Channel 2 held the record in excluding Arabs from the screen, and only 0.55% of the items broadcast by the channel featured Arabs. Of these items, 68% presented Arabs as a threat. The numbers for channels 1 and 10 were strikingly similar.
The representation of Arabs in radio stations has also failed to cross the 1% bar, although IDF Radio was slightly more inclined to broadcast items on Arabs than Israel Radio (0.91% and 0.45% respectively). In both stations, some 50% of the items presented Arabs in a negative, menacing context.
More moral, profitable journalism
A separate research by Agenda found that media outlets in Israel scarcely employed Arab workers. For instance, Channel 2 franchises Keshet and Reshet, Israel Radio's three sub-stations, Channel 8, and the Kids' Channel do not have even one Arab employee. Channel 2's News Company employs eight Arab workers, Channel 1 has three Arab reporters, IDF Radio has two workers, and Channel 10 – four.
Agenda Director-General Vered Livneh said that the major media outlets rarely interview Arabs on civil, general topics that are not related to hummus. "the chances for an Arab doctor to advise us on how to protect our children from a flu virus, or for an Arab lawyer to give us tips on labor laws are very slim.
"In networks such as CNN, all sectors of society are represented, not only because employing and representing minorities in the media is more moral, it also makes for more profitable journalism," she stated.