Ma'an News Agency

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Ma'an News Agency (MNA)
Type Broadcast radio, television and online
Country Palestinian territories
Availability National
International 
Launch date
2005
Official website
www.maannews.net

Ma'an News Agency (MNA) (Arabic: وكالة معا الإخبارية‎) is a large wire service created in 2005 in the Palestinian territories.[1][2] It is part of the Ma'an Network, a non-governmental organization media network created in 2002[1] in the Palestinian territories among independent journalists throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It has partnerships with eight local television stations and twelve local radio stations. Ma'an News Agency publishes news 24 hours a day in Arabic, Hebrew and English, and claims to be one of the largest wire services in the Palestinian territories, with over three million visits per month.[1] Ma'an News Agency also publishes feature stories, analysis and opinion articles. The agency's headquarters is in Bethlehem and it has an office in Gaza.

History[edit]

The Ma'an Network was launched in 2002 as a partnership between Bethlehem TV and local Palestinian media organizations. The name Ma'an is the Arabic word for "together". The group is run by Raed Othman, the former manager of Bethlehem TV. Ma'an has produced three soap operas (one of which, Mazih fi Jad (Joking Seriously), was described as the first television drama series produced in the Palestinian territories), numerous news and public affairs programs and the television film Kafah. Ma'an's programs are broadcast by ten independent terrestrial television stations in the West Bank and occasionally by the Fatah-run Palestine TV satellite broadcaster.[3][4]

The Ma'an News Agency was launched in 2005 with funding from the Danish and Dutch Representative Offices to the Palestinian National Authority.[1] The news agency is the most visible component of the Ma'an Network.[4] In 15 May, the Ma'an network launched an eCommerce website called Maan Souq.

Independence[edit]

Ma'an News Agency claims that it "scrupulously maintains its editorial independence and aims to promote access to information, freedom of expression, press freedom, and media pluralism in Palestine."[1] The Ma'an Network was founded with the goal of creating a media source that was free of factional control,[citation needed] unlike the major existing broadcasters such as Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV and Fatah's Palestine TV.[citation needed] In an interview with media scholar Matt Sienkiewicz, former Ma'an Chief financial officer Wisam Kutom stated that he told potential Ma'an funders that: "Palestinian television is factional television right now we [Palestinians] cannot tell the stories we want to, only the stories the factions will let us. There is no independent television".[4]

Funding[edit]

Funding for Ma'an Network comes from advertising revenue and from foreign donors.[1][3][4]

2007 Threat from Hamas[edit]

In July 2007, at the time the de facto Gaza Strip government, MNA alleged that MNA's chief editor had received "direct threats" from Hamas to carry out a "defamation campaign" against MNA, and to cease its criticism of "the Hamas movement".[5]

Popularity[edit]

Ma'an News Agency describes itself as "the main source of independent news from Palestine" and "the premier source of independent Palestinian news on the internet".[1] According to a 2007 survey, 95.6% of Palestinians with internet access "frequently visit" the site.[6] As of December 2013, Ma'an News receives the fourth most site visitors in the Palestinian territories.[7]

Reality TV[edit]

In 2013, Ma'an TV (Ma'an Network's satellite channel) broadcast the hit reality show "The President" in collaboration with Search for Common Ground. Described as "a cross between American Idol and The Apprentice", audience members would vote through SMS to elect the show's young contestants who competed in mock press conferences, political campaigns, and debates.[8][9]

Reliability and objectivity[edit]

An Israeli NGO, NGO Monitor, criticizes Ma'an for regularly re-publishing "non-verifiable or inaccurate claims" from partisan NGOs and for, "subjective, biased reporting."[10] Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) criticized Ma'an for "sanitizing" its English-language reporting while publishing in Arabic reports that “include the hate ideology espoused by the terror organizations that deny Israel's right to exist [and] express reverence for suicide terrorists."[10] In further reports, PMW criticized Ma'an for "demonization of Jews,",[11] for publishing news stories in materially different Arabic and English versions,[12] and for holocaust denial.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "About us". Ma'an News Agency. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  2. ^ National Profile of the Information Society In Palestine, United Nations, New York, 2009, p. 13.
  3. ^ a b Sienkiewicz, Matt (2010). "Hard Questions: Public Goods and the Political Economy of the New Palestinian Televisual Public Sphere". The Velvet Light Trap (University of Texas Press) (66): 3–14. doi:10.1353/vlt.2010.0004. 
  4. ^ a b c d Sienkiewicz, Matt (2010). "Kafah and the Non-Profit Globalization of Palestinian Media". Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication (BRILL) 3 (3): 352–374. doi:10.1163/187398610X538696. 
  5. ^ "Hamas spokesperson threatens Ma'an News Agency". Ma'an News Agency. 7 July 2007. Archived from the original on 30 December 2008. Retrieved 30 December 2008. 
  6. ^ "Palestinian Ma'an News among 1000 most popular". Representative Office of Denmark, Ramallah. 19 October 2007. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "Top Sites in Palestinian Territory". Alexa Internet. December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "Strengthening Palestinian Citizen Participation and Democracy: The President". Search for Common Ground. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  9. ^ "Palestinians Choose A New President On Reality TV". Associated Press. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "The Ma´an Network: Promoting Understanding or a Radical Palestinian Agenda?". NGO Monitor. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  11. ^ Zilberdik, Nan Jacques (30 June 2013). "Venomous Antisemitism published by Palestinian Ma'an News Agency". Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  12. ^ "Ma`an publishes different accounts of same story; accuses Israel of "Judaizing" Jerusalem". Palestinian Media Watch. 10 September 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  13. ^ Marcus, Itamar (11 February 2013). "European-funded Ma'an published Holocaust denial". Palestinian Media Watch. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 

External links[edit]