Taming Arab satellite television
More moves to implement the 2008 Arab Information Ministers' Charter, which sought pan-Arab regulation for satellite TV programming:
RIYADH (AFP) – A proposal to create a pan-Arab television monitor is a "disturbing" move that could could lead to censorship of broadcasts critical of Arab governments, a media watchdog said on Saturday.The Saudi-Egyptian proposal to establish a regional office to supervise satellite broadcasters is aimed directly at Qatar-based Al-Jazeera, the Palestinian Hamas group's Al-Aqsa TV and Hezbollah's Al-Manar channel, Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said."This proposal is disturbing, to say the least," the group said in a statement."The danger is that this super-police could be used to censor all TV stations that criticise the region?s governments. It could eventually be turned into a formidable weapon against freedom of information."The proposal to create the "Office for Arab Satellite Television" is to be discussed when information ministers from Arab League countries meet in Cairo on January 24.Reporters Without Borders said the proposal stems in part from a recent move by the US Congress to allow satellite owners to be branded "terrorist entities" if they allow broadcasts by television channels also branded as such.
Beyond a common interest in implementing censorship, this could also by a means to resolve the Arab media war taking place — with peaks and throughs — since the Gaza war. Egypt in particular is interested in calming al-Jazeera's coverage of the Rafah wall, and then of course there's always the Qatari-Saudi rivalries.