Friday, November 30, 2007

Israel plans to expand Amharic - language broadcast

Israel’s Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog announced on Wednesday that plans were already under way to expand broadcasting hours for the Israel Broadcasting Authority’s Amharic-language radio show despite recent cutbacks to the national broadcasting body.

Speaking at the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women, which was discussing domestic violence in the Ethiopian community, Herzog said that as minister responsible for the financially strapped IBA he had already met with Israel radio chief Yoni Ben-Menachem to discuss a joint venture that would expand the hours of the Amharic-language broadcast. Funding for such a project would most likely come from the Ministry of Welfare and Social Services, said a spokeswoman for Herzog.

Herzog said he believed that the radio station was an essential tool to help ease some of the Ethiopian community’s social problems and assist them in the absorption process. According to Tsega Melaku, Director of the Amharic and Tigrnga Service, 90 percent of the Ethiopian immigrant community listens to the two hours of radio that are broadcast daily at lunchtime and in the evenings.

“Most of the community does not have access to newspapers or television,” she said, highlighting the large number of immigrants that are illiterate and rely on her service for vital information. “We do not only broadcast news but also act as a guide for new immigrants regarding all areas of their new life,” said Melaku.
(Source: Jerusalem Post/R Netherlands Media Network Weblog)