Across Pacific Magazine
Bible College in Bethlehem
Using Media to Combat Violence
Bring Light and Hope to Palestinians
Before 1996 no Palestinian Radio or Television stations existed.
The website explains: "That year the Israeli military withdraw from most of the Palestinian cities, and the Palestinian Broadcasting Service was found, and private stations were permitted. Till now the Palestinian media is not well developed. In one hand, being an occupied country affects the media in bad way as it creates a kind of 'victim mentality' among journalism. In the other hand, a new generation of journalists needs to be trained; ready to point out the social problems in the society, while focusing on the aim of changing people's hard conditions."
In January 2003, Bethlehem Bible College started out a Media Training Project.
Camera crew in the studio.
Fourteen students joined the program and in March 2005 they had finished the course. During these two years the students acquired knowledge in communication, mass media and journalism theories as well as theoretical and practical skills in web design, radio and television production. In January 2005 a new group of students started the same training course, the site says.
The main purpose of the Media Training project was set out to influence the society, help the democratization process, (and) to improve the general Media situation and the chances for young people to get work in the media field.
"In our Media Training our students always participate in the work. After these two years of training the graduate student gets a two years diploma certified by the Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education," the site explains.
It adds: "Since the Media Training Program was set out, it developed to have a, more or less, fixed curriculum. Moreover, efforts have been made to get local teachers for all the courses (a goal that is almost achieved). The coming period there will be a need to strengthen the capacity of the local teachers and as a result of that to increase the extension of the courses."
In October 2004 a process of planning and preparation started, research was undertaken to know the exact needs for the local society. Five of the graduated students were hired in the New Vision Media Center.
The website goes on to state: "The center was established as a response to the needs of the people. It aims to rebuild and develop the civil society, to increase the level of awareness that concerns human rights, democracy, health, environment and good initiatives among people. In addition, the center was founded to offer good job opportunities for the graduate students. Decisions were made to produce a one-hour television program every week, to be broadcasted on a local television station in Bethlehem. Five of the graduated students were hired in the New Vision Media Center.
Bethlehem Bible College is an interdenominational Christian Bible college, located in Bethlehem, Palestine, seeking to train and prepare Christian servant-leaders for the churches and society within an Arab context who model Christ centeredness, Godly humility, biblical wholeness, creative mercy and justice in their jobs and ministries as life-long learners.
Bethlehem Bible College also seeks to minister to the local community through its Al Aman Counseling Center, the Shepherd Society, Bethlehem's first public library located at the college, teaching English as a second language, a Tour Guide program and a Mass Media program.
The College is accredited by the Palestinian Ministry for Higher Education as a four-year college. It is also accredited by MEATE (Middle East Association of Theological Education).
For more information, log-on to the World Wide Web at: www.bethlehembiblecollege.edu/
** Michael Ireland is an international British freelance journalist. A former reporter with a London newspaper, Michael is a Special Correspondent for ASSIST News Service of Lake Forest, California. Michael immigrated to the United States in 1982 and became a US citizen in September, 1995. He is married with two children. Michael has also been a frequent contributor to UCB Europe, a British Christian radio station.
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