Friday, June 11, 2010

Maybe they just don't know any geography

An interesting item from Palestinian Media Watch about a quiz show on Palestinian Authority TV that was originally funded by the European Union (that's your money and mine) but is being sponsored by the cell phone company Jawwa. Palestinian Media Watch was unable to find out whether the EU is also a sponsor.

The programme seems to be rather high-profile and the first season, at least, could be justified by saying that the EU was promoting knowledge of Europe, the various countries and, probably most of all, the European Union.
The first season was funded by the European Union and the quiz questions all related to Europe, covering topics such as history, geography, personalities, government, culture, arts, and sports. Each program featured competing representatives from two Palestinian Authority universities or colleges. In January 2010 the competition ended, and the last program showed a prize ceremony with the participation of Minister of Welfare Majda Al-Masri; Minister of Prisoners' Affairs Issa Karake; and director of the MAAN news agency, Nasser A-Lahham.
The second season is no longer about matters European but Middle Eastern and the existence of Israel as a country seems to be ignored. For instance
The question posed to the TV viewers was:

"A Palestinian coastal city is:
1. Ramallah
2. Bethlehem
3. Haifa
... Call the number that appears on the screen and win $500."
The answer is none of them as Haifa, a coastal city, is in Israel. None of this would matter except for the fact that the old blue flag with gold stars is still displayed prominently in the background when the questions are asked.

I am prepared to believe that it is sheer incompetence on the part of the EU that has created this unfortunate situation. I think I am prepared to believe that.

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