Army Radio upset listeners this week with its coverage of a planned housing development in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo. Left-wing presenters indicated opposition to the plan through biased language and skewed coverage.
The Tadmit organization, which monitors Israeli media, called on the station to provide more balanced coverage, and to ensure that presenters' individual views do not shape news reports. Tadmit media observer Chani Luz prepared the critique.
Three presenters in particular, Micah Friedman, Yael Dan, and Yoram Frost, were accused of biased coverage.
Micah Friedman used language suggestive of a campaign against the construction project, saying, “Has the next crisis with the United States arrived?” and “Will the American government soon have a thousand and four hundred new reasons for tension with Israel?”
Yotam Frost termed the new project “a powder keg.” In addition, the Good Morning Israel program he presents devoted seven minutes and thirty seconds to negative coverage regarding the project, and just 10 seconds each to responses from the Jerusalem Municipality and a City Council member affiliated with Likud, who spoke in favor of the new housing.
Yael Dan said about the construction, “The Jerusalem municipality may soon create the next diplomatic conflict.”
The project in question had previously been announced and was nothing new, but it made the news again after getting approval from the Jerusalem District Planning Commission, thus passing one step of many in the bureaucratic process that precedes the construction of new homes. The project is set to include 1,400 much-needed housing units in Gilo, in southern Jerusalem.
The Palestinian Authority claims Gilo, and all other Jerusalem neighborhoods east, south and north of the 1949 armistice line, all termed East Jerusalem by the media, as part of the capital city of an Arab state it hopes to establish in Judea and Samaria. PA leaders have accused Israel of undermining the diplomatic process by continuing to build in the capital despite their demands. Natural urban population expansion makes this building a normal process for the Jerusalem municipality.
Israeli leaders say the city of Jerusalem will remain united under any agreement with the PA, as it was prior to 1948, and has been since the reunification of the city in the Six Day War of 1967.
(INN note: the accompanying picture is not of the program discussed above).