Congressional bill against "terror TV" generates opposition among Arab information ministers.

Posted: 31 Jan 2010   Print   Send a link
"The fight between some Arab broadcasters and lawmakers in the US who want to ban those 'hostile to the United States' could not be happening at a worse time. Yesterday, Arab ministers of information gathered to 'slam', in the words of the AFP, the US Congress for the bill [H.R. 2278] the House of Representatives passed in December that imposes sanctions on broadcasters deemed a threat to the country. After a six-hour meeting in Cairo, the ministers issued a communique that said the bill was 'considered an interference in the internal affairs of Arab states who regulate their media affairs according to national legislation.'" Keach Hagey, mixedmedia blog, The National, 25 January 2010.
     "The enthusiasm that brought together Arab Information Ministers, the Arab League and official and parliamentary media committees in several Arab states to stand up against a bill proposed by US Congress targeting a group of Arab satellite TV stations was truly striking. The bill that angered the Arabs and is now waiting for the signature of President Obama calls for taking punitive measures against satellite television stations that nourish anti-US sentiment including a host of 'resistance' television stations whether in Lebanon, Palestine or Iraq." Diana Mukkaled, Ashar Alawsat, 29 January 2010. According to Thomas, the bill is still in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, so not yet ready for President Obama's signature.
     The American Embassy in Beirut "Public Affairs Officer, Ryan Gliha, told representatives of local news portals on 1/22/10, that ... The Obama administration 'doesn't have an official position on it because it is still an idea,' the diplomat stressed. The response did not satisfy some who were present. Then Mr. Gilha added 'This is not a question of freedom of speech. It is about al-Manar which is owned by Hizbullah… The US government believes there is no difference between a terrorist organization and a media outlet run by it.'" Franklin Lamb, Middle East Online, 29 January 2010.
     "The American move also indicates that US media such as Al Hurra have failed to sell the American point of view to Arab viewers. And so the answer is to muzzle the Arab channels." Faisal Al Qasim, Gulf News (Dubai), 27 January 2010. See previous post about H.R. 2278 and previous post about the Arab information ministers' conference.