Yesterday’s Media Guardian had this article:
The head of al-Jazeera has launched a scathing attack on Middle East governments, accusing them of framing new laws giving them powers to close down the Arabic-language news channel and other broadcasters. Wadah Khanfar, al-Jazeera’s director general, said a charter published last week by the Arab League, which represents 22 states in the Middle East, is the most serious threat to media freedom in the region for more than a decade.
“Who is going to decide if a leader in a particular country has been ‘insulted’? In this region, regimes have never been in favour of a free press or freedom of expression, so to hand over to them the right to decide [who broadcasts what] is very dangerous,” Khanfar added.
Most seriously, al-Jazeera believes the charter could give Middle East governments the power to switch off satellite signals and force broadcasters off air. All satellite broadcasters rely on just two groups; Arabsat, based in Saudi Arabia, and Egypt’s NileSat.
All kudos to them in my view. The Middle East won’t get anywhere without more freedom and democracy.
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Filed in: Current affairs,Media,Middle East