Turning promises into action

Friday 21 December 2012, 12:22

Lana Shehadeh Lana Shehadeh Research Officer for BBC Media Action in the Palestinian Territories

palestine-image.jpg Protesters in the Palestinian Territories For the past three months Mohammad Ghanam, along with 15 other Palestinians, have been protesting outside the Palestinian prime minister’s office. Their banners read, "We demand equal employment opportunities” and “We demand our right for respectable jobs".

30-year-old Ghanam is fighting against what he calls the government's "unfair employment policies". He says he was unfairly sent home from a new job as a public school teacher after a background security check failed to clear in time (Palestinian civil servant employment policy requires a security check in the first three months of a job.)

Ghanam and his fellow demonstrators have met with the Palestinian minister of education as well as other government officials. "All we hear are promises. Promises with no action," says Ghanam.

BBC Media Action’s aim in the Palestinian Territories is to help bring action to the promises of government officials.

This is being done through three debate programmes: a quarterly multiplatform debate show Aswat Min Filesteen (Voices From Palestine), produced in partnership with the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) and BBC Arabic; a secondly monthly show Hur el Kalam (Free To Speak) produced solely by PBC; and a debate spin-off from Hur el Kalam aimed at the large Palestinian youth population. 

Topics already discussed on the shows have included the effects of the Oslo accord 19 years after it was signed and the impact of immigration and emigration on people’s lives in the Palestine Territories. 

The programmes’ main objective is to ensure that decision makers, politicians and leaders in the Palestinian Territories are held to account by their constituents - that Palestinians such as Mohammad Ghanam can make their voices heard and see action taken. 

A moving example of such accountability occurred during a recent episode of Hur el Kalam which focused on health services in Palestine.

A member of the audience, Mohammad Abul Wafa, told the panel about his wife, who was diagnosed with cancer and treated with chemotherapy at a hospital in Ramallah. But when she was transferred to a hospital in Amman, Jordan, they were told she had been misdiagnosed. She died only a few weeks later.

During Hur el Kalam, Abul Wafa was able to call for action: "A third party that is not connected to the government should look into this case and decide whether this was fate or malpractice," he said. 

Deputy minister, Dr Anan Masri was on the show’s panel and responded immediately; he promised to personally look into the case – a commitment that we will follow up in a future programme.

To echo Mohammad Ghanam's words, it’s a promise that will hopefully turn into action.  

Related Links

New Palestine debate show launches 

BBC Media Action’s work in the Palestine Territories

BBC Media Action’s governance work

Go back to BBC Media Action 

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