Correcting a wrong

20 Jun, '08

Remember that debacle where the Arab world agreed to “protect our traditional values” by curtailing freedoms of expression especially that of news television channels? You know, the news channels who normally criticise established regimes, specifically Aljazaeera and to some extent Alarabia?

That was in February earlier this year, and only Lebanon objected to such a scheme while Qatar expressed some reservations. The rest of the crowd just nodded along and carried on in their slumber. But as you might expect, there were some criticisms against such a move from all corners of the world. It seems that pressure has borne fruit; in today’s paper, I was really happy to read this:

جددت البحرين وقطر والإمارات تحفظهم خلال اجتماع وزراء الإعلام العرب اليوم (الخميس) على وثيقة البث الفضائي بدعوى إن بنودها تفرض قيودا على حرية التعبير في العالم العربي وعلى عمل الفضائيات.

وذكرت تقارير صحافية إن اجتماع وزراء الإعلام العرب الذي عقد في العاصمة المصرية القاهرة اليوم فشل بالخروج بآلية محددة لتنفيذ وثيقة تنظيم البث الفضائي والإذاعي التي أقروها قبل نحو 4 شهور وسط خلافات عربية حول بنودها.

وكان وزراء الإعلام العرب قد وافقوا باستثناء قطر في فبراير/ شباط الماضي على وثيقة تنظيم البث الفضائي في المنطقة العربية والتي جوبهت بحملة احتجاجات شديدة من قبل منظمات صحفية عربية ودولية.

وقال مشاركون ان مصر والجزائر ابديتا استغرابهما من التحفظات القطرية والإماراتية وان الاجتماع لم ينجح في النهاية بالخروج بآلية محددة لتنفيذ الوثيقة.

واكتفى وزراء الإعلام العرب في ختام اجتماعهم بالدعوى الى إعداد قاموس لصياغة المصطلحات التي يتم تداولها في وسائل الإعلام العربية.

Alwasat – 20 June, ’08

This report now states that in their latest meeting, more “reservations” were expressed by the Emirates and Bahrain! Man oh man. Yes, you read it right: “Bahrain” expressed reservations, meaning that, well, we’re not having it any more. This happened amongst different expressions of bafflement by Algeria and Egypt (Saudi was probably absent?).

So to save some face before they bury such an inept concept, they agreed on the creation of a lexicon in which unified definitions of words and concepts is to be adopted by broadcasters. Well, I guess most (but not all) news editors will file this in their rubbish bins on receipt, but at least it makes someone happy that they have saved face. What I would have preferred is just giving the proponents of such an idiotic “code” the bird and leaving the room at the very start, but that’s just being rude and politics and norms should be respected I guess.

Well done Bahrain. I fully expect – that should the new minister carries on like this – our Press Freedom Index for 2008 will be appreciably better. Well done again.

Filed in: Politics
Tagged with:

Comments (4)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Jade says:

    Mahmood, I don’t know where to bury this but I think it’s worth thinking about….

    A man whose family was German aristocracy prior
    to World War II owned a number of large industries
    and estates. When asked how many German people
    were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our
    attitude toward fanaticism.

    ‘Very few people were true Nazis’ he said, ‘but many
    enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more
    were too busy to care. I was one of those who just
    thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools.

    So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen.
    Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had
    lost control, and the end of the world had come. My
    family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration
    camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.’

    We are told again and again by ‘experts’ and talking
    heads’ that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the
    vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace.

    Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is
    entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to
    make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish
    the spectre of fanatics rampaging across the globe in
    the name of Islam.

    The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment
    in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the
    fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars
    worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically
    slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout
    Africa and are gradually taking over the entire
    continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who
    bomb, behead, murder, or honor kill. It is the
    fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is
    the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and
    hanging of rape victims. The hard quantifiable fact
    is that the ‘peaceful majority’, the ‘silent majority’,
    is cowed and extraneous.

    Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who
    just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian
    Communists were responsible for the murder of
    about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were
    irrelevant.

    China ‘s huge population was peaceful as well, but
    Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering
    70 million people.

    The average Japanese individual prior to World
    War II was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan
    murdered and slaughtered its way across South
    East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the
    systematic murder of 14 million Chinese civilians;
    most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet.

    And, who can forget Rwanda , which collapsed
    into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority
    of Rwandans were ‘peace loving’?

    History lessons are often incredibly simple and
    blunt, yet for all our powers of reason we often
    miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points:
    Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant
    by their silence.

    Peace-loving Muslims will become the world’s enemy if
    they don’t speak up, because like the rich guy from
    Germany , they will awaken one day and find that
    the fanatics own them, and the end of their world
    will have begun.

    Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese,
    Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghanis, Iraqis,
    Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and
    many others have died because the peaceful majority
    did not speak up until it was too late.

    As for us who watch it all unfold; we must pay
    attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics
    who threaten our way of life.

    Bahrain might just be a tiny speck on the map but it’s good that there are responsible bloggers like you who are rationally addressing the Island’s problems.

  2. Any one surprised…? 😀

  3. victoria says:

    Jade said

    Peace-loving Muslims will become the world’s enemy if
    they don’t speak up, because like the rich guy from
    Germany , they will awaken one day and find that
    the fanatics own them, and the end of their world
    will have begun.

    Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese,
    Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghanis, Iraqis,
    Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and
    many others have died because the peaceful majority
    did not speak up until it was too late.

    this is an amazing observation and a challenge to all of us who claim to be peace loving . If we do not speak out against injustice against our fellow man , even if it costs us personal pain , then we are being complicit in the injustices inflicted on others … we are culpable because of our cowardice to speak up….

    Jade , this may sound naive but what in your opinion can peace lovers do to counteract such regimes and ideologies that rule by intimidation , oppression and violence ??

Back to Top