Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Arab TV broadcasters face new threat of censorship

A charter has been adopted by the majority of Middle Eastern nations that will allow the participating governments to punish satellite channels considered to have offended Arab leaders, or national and religious symbols, BBC News reported Tuesday.

Information ministers from all 22 members of the Arab League met in Cairo at the behest of Egypt and Saudi Arabia to discuss the growing popularity of independent satellite television channels, and the supposed problems they create for the governments of the Middle East. The document calls for stations “not to offend the leaders [of Arab countries] . . . and not damage the social harmony, national unity, public order or traditional values,” of the participating states. If the signatory governments feel these offenses have been made, they may “withdraw, freeze, or not renew the work permits of media,” in their country. The document also calls on broadcasters to avoid erotic content or images that promote smoking or alcohol consumption.

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