Middle East News
Reporters without Borders say Arab TV police plan "disturbing"
Jan 23, 2010, 15:28 GMT
Cairo - Media watchdog Reporters without Borders said Saturday that the Arab joint proposal to create a regional office to monitor satellite channels is a 'disturbing' move.
'This proposal is disturbing,' Reporters Without Borders said in a statement. 'The danger is that this super-police could be used to censor all TV stations that criticize the region's governments. It could eventually be turned into a formidable weapon against freedom of information.'
Arab information ministers will meet in Cairo on Sunday to discuss an Egyptian-Saudi proposal to create a regional office to supervise Arab satellite TV stations.
Reporters Without Borders said the proposal comes after the US bill that could brand satellite operators as 'terrorist entities' if they broadcast anything by television channels classified as 'terrorist' by the US Congress.
The Paris-based organization said that the main TV stations targeted by the proposal are the Qatar-based al-Jazeera, al-Aqsa TV of the Palestinian militant group Hamas and the al-Manar television station of Lebanon's Shiite Islamist group Hezbollah.
Lebanon and Qatar oppose the proposal, Reporters Without Borders said.
The proposal was originally made by Arab League secretary-general Amr Mussa during a previous Arab league summit. It was recently revived by the Saudi and Egyptian governments, who control the two leading regional satellite networks, the Arabsat and the Nilesat.