Is to create a over-sight commission headed by the Minister of Interior and includes representatives from the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Information to oversee whatever is published in the papers or electronic websites as well as whatever is said in the Friday sermons, and if any is found to be sectarian motivated, well, the news report doesn’t specify the punishment.
On the other side, the public was invited to sign a petition and a code of ethics promulgated by the liberal National Action Democratic Society (Waad) against sectarianism. A 100 signatories already penned their name on the document which will also be available as an electronic petition for the rest of the public to sign, should they wish.
That’s it. The problem is solved now. We can rest and recuperate.
But wait. I am really uncomfortable with the government’s solution as I don’t think it will really achieve anything as they simply do not have the required credibility with those named for the committee already have been noted in that “nefarious report.” And as the government itself does not recognise the existence of the Bandargate scandal, let alone acknowledge its central theme of systematic marginalisation and discrimination against those who constitute the majority of this country’s citizenry. I fear that they will use this committee to justify further spying and to hatch more nefarious schemes. I might be too pessimistic, so forgive me if you feel my suspicions a bit over the top.
The second thing is this petition; while it is a much thanked for step in its sincerity, but just like the much respected “Code of Ethics against Sectarianism in the Press” which was signed by the vast majority of journalists and their publishers, we have not witnessed any reduction of such discriminatory poison in the press – generally – on the contrary, we have seen a clear increase in the dissemination of hatred perpetrated by at least one paper which has mitigated the latest mass demonstrations we saw last week, which in turn prompted these steps by the government and society.
So what’s the solution in my view then? Well, I don’t think that anything will work unless there is a clear and comprehensive anti-discrimination law which punishes anyone and everyone who practices any form of prejudice which is against human values, ones which this government has already accepted and signed in international treaties.
Signing papers and forming committees just don’t cut it any more. In my humble opinion.