- March 1, 2008
- 10 minutes read
Arab Media Charter Bears Fruit: Egyptian Show Prevented from Tackling Anti-Terorrism Bill
In an expected start for the so called Principles for Organizing Satellite Radio and TV Broadcasting in the Arab Region recently forged by Arab Ministers of Information, “top Egyptian authorities” ordered canceling last Saturday’s episode of “90 Minutes”, a popular live show on Al-Mehwar Satellite Channel. The episode was devoted for discussing the would-be anti-terrorism bill, which was proposed by President Mubarak in 2007 and aroused criticism from multiple opposition voices and rights groups.
The decision to prevent airing this show came only two hours before its live broadcast without stating any clear reasons for this, putting the show crew in a state of embarrassment.
That repressive decision comes as part of the regime’s recent policy of giving political tasks to the security services whose means are central security attacks, detentions and repression.
Political officials attributed this to the claim that the Ministry of Justice hasn’t presented the final draft of the anti-terrorism law, although an Egyptian newspaper has exclusively published the draft of a large number of articles in this law.
Guests of the show were upset of the decision, including journalist Suleiman Gouda who saw that this so called Arab media charter of honour will freeze satellite channels which would, as a result, avoid discussing important issues lest they face troubles.
For his part, Diaa Rashwan, an expert at Al-Ahram center for political and strategic studies, was scheduled to appear in this cancelled episode of the show, saw that this prevention of an episode is a “gloomy curtain raiser” for this Arab media charter of honour. “An intervention to prevent the discussion of sensitive issues that concern the public opinion is an alarming start,” he said.
Gamal Fahmi, a member of the Press Syndicate board and a member in Kifaya Movement, saw that what happened against “90 Minutes” show is only one more proof on the regime’s fierce attack on freedom of speech after its attack on freedom of the press, an attack that reached even satellite TV channels.
He added in a statement to Ikhwanweb that preventing this episode of the show from discussing a specific issue may be the first practical implementation of the media document approved by the Arab Ministers of Information to tune up the repression of freedoms in Arab countries.
He also cited the statement of Anas Al Feqi, the Egyptian Minister of Information, after the meeting of the Arab Ministers of Information and agreeing on the new media charter, in which he pledged that Egypt will be first to implement items of this document on its private media outlets. This was immediately applied on Al Mehwar’s “90 Minutes”.
He pointed out that this media document can be considered an agreement on an “Arab Common Market for repression”, after this immediate consensus and agreement on it from Arab governments which failed in agreeing on establishing a real Arab Common Market for their peoples’ interests.
Gamal Fahmi conclude that these attempts prove the atmosphere of dictatorship, attempts of silencing voices and repression of freedom of speech. However, he said that these attempts will never fail because they are actually attributed to the regime’s inability and failure in all aspects.
“The regime thinks that these attempts of silencing voices will reduce the opposition it faces. But this will backfire since its attempts will deepen the crisis and increase opposition voices”, Gamal Fahmi said.