The Role of Locally Printed Press in the Democratic Transformation in the West-Bank Al-Quds As a Model (2004-2007)

Discussion Committee: 
Dr. Nayef Abu Khalaf
Hafez Ali Hafez Abu Ayyash
In tackling the role of the locally printed media in democratic transformation, the researcher, in this study, linked automatically the mass media, in their general form, with both political development and democracy. Further, the researcher worked to identify the dialectical relationships which link them with each other. The media's job is to allow the flow of objective and neutral information and expression of all opinions based on the principle of opinion versus other opinion, thus increasing political participation, as an important principle in democracy, and effecting a political and cultural momentum that contributes towards the required change, through political development, to get to modernization, the essence of political development itself. Besides, the researcher linked between the media and elections and emphasized the essence of relationship linking them especially in the freedom of opinion and expression. Neither elections nor media are possible without that freedom. The media cannot be excluded because they are one of the joints of the democratic process during the election period and they play a key role in pushing the course of democracy. Against this background and despite the dramatic developments in the field of information technology, which has led to the development of the mass media and their impact on printed press, emergence of satellite channels and Internet, the researcher still believes that the age of the printed press has not ended. Its role is still valid until today. This form of press has not become defunct and is still a major player given the characteristics it enjoys over other forms of mass media. The news story, written and published in the paper, is different from the news story in electronic media: TV, radio, Internet. Writing has the potential to fire the reader's imagination to think of the events, through contemplation, refer to these events a number of times and adopt an idea in a certain way. The reader can also quote from the written text and subject it to criticism and comment, thus enriching subject of debate and contributing to uncover of truth. Equally important, the paper will also have a greater opportunity to analyze the news story because it is published the next day, thus giving it another opportunity to collect more information, analyze it and present it on its pages in logical fashion and this will enable the reader to understand and learn. To move from theory to practice, the researcher chose Al-Quds daily as a model for his study in order to test his three hypotheses. The first part of the first hypothesis was that Al-Quds contributed to democratic transformation through quantitative analysis which revealed the volume of the paper's coverage of its subjects as well as its commitment to several criteria stipulated in the Palestinian Elections Law. The other part of the hypothesis predicted weak contribution of Al-Quds towards democratic transformation in the light of the result of qualitative analysis which showed lack of depth in the analysis of news stories and reports. The other two hypothesis were proved to be true concerning the legislations, which regulate the work of the media, including the printed press. They had impeded the democratic transformation. It was also found that presence of democracy reinforced the role of locally printed press and contributed to democratic transformation. The researcher divided his study into four chapters and used two scientific methods. The first, used in the first three chapters, was the descriptive analytical method. While the second, used in the fourth chapter, was the analytical method of content: qualitative and quantitative. Chapter one was devoted to the theoretical conceptual framework. In this chapter , the researcher defined a number of concepts: press political development, democracy, democratic transformation. In addition, he identified the common ground of all these concepts in an analytical context which shows the nature of relationships and existing overlap between them. Chapter two dealt with the reality of locally printed press in Palestine from a historical perspective starting from the Ottoman era (1876-1918) to the British occupation (1918-1948) to the Jordanian and Egyptian rule of the West Bank and Gaza Strip respectively (1948-1967), the Israeli military occupation (1967-1994) and ending with the advent of the Palestinian Authority in 1994 to 2007. This historical surrey was meant to shed light on the circumstances which the Palestinian press has experienced, and the laws which governed its operation, and the most outstanding papers which were produced during these eras. The chapter also examined the roles which the press played since its introduction to Palestine, and the extent of differences from one era to another. Chapter three was devoted to the examination of the most important theories on democratic transformation, democratic media and the possibility of projecting them on the Palestinian case and the Palestinian media in particular. In chapter four, the researcher conducted an analysis of the role of Al-Quds in the democratic transformation in Palestine through a systematic sample determined during legal periods in which its was allowed to exercise electioneering publicity during the three democratic transformations which began with the holding of local government elections on Dec.23, 2004, the second presidential elections on Jan.9 2006 and which ended with the legislative elections on Jan.25, 2006 . The researcher examined the extent of Al-Quds's commitment to present all points of views of candidates in an impartial and objective way. In order to find out the degree of the paper's respect of the laws and regulations stipulated in the Palestinian Elections Law which was passed to organize the elections process including the exercise of electioneering. At the end of the study, the researcher provided a number of conclusions as well as several recommendations which might contribute to the solution of the problem of the study.
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