Arab Reform Conference Dismisses Arab Media Charter

Arab Reform Conference Dismisses Arab Media Charter

Speakers in the opening session of the Arab Reform Conference, held at the Library of Alexandria, voiced their complete rejection to the Arab satellite channels document issued by the Arab information ministers. They saw that this document poses restrictions to the freedom of media and increases the state’s grip over the media .


The conference kicked off on Monday March, 3rd, and included 600 media figures, intellectuals and human rights activists from all Arab countries. The conferees said they reject the document specially after its gloomy items started to take effect in Egypt.


In his speech, former Syrian Information Minister and Rapporteur of Arab Parliament, Adnan Omran criticized this document and called on Arab lawyers and journalists to issue a parallel media document to give more chances for the freedom of media and speech and to lay down mechanisms for protecting and democratically developing the society.


He also pointed out that the media charter passed by the Arab League may lead to a deadlock because only Ministers of Information participated in it .


For her part, Kuwaiti journalist Siham Mannan referred- in her speech- to Reporters Without Borders’ report which pointed to a retreat in the freedom of the press in the Arab world. She stressed that such a document will tighten governments’ grip over the media.


Also, Mohamed Fayek,  Egypt-based director of the nonprofit Arab Organization for Human Rights and former Minister of Information saw that media related laws must be amended to make sure that media men are freely given access to information and can send this information to Arab readers and viewers in a way that contributes to reinforcing democracy.


This conference has been held as several religious satellite channels face threats of being closed due to this ambiguous media charter document. The endangered channels include Al-Fagr, Al-Hikma, and Al-Baraka channel which is focusing on Islamic economy, plus Tiba channel which was unlicenced due to unspecified security reasons.


This possible spate of closing religious satellite channels after canceling the airing of Al-Mehwar’s last weeak “90 Mnutes” show may be a tip of an iceberg of the ensuing results of applying the Arab media charter which started to take effect in Egypt despite objections.