Arabs agree on something
Arab information ministers met in Cairo last week and agreed, and they rarely agree on anything, on a new convention that would severely restrict the freedom of satellite channels. The convention comes because "Some satellite channels have strayed from the correct path" as phrased by the Egyptian minister. His country indicated it is very keen on adopting and implementing the convention after its government has become subject to scrutiny by numerous channels due to its records of human rights abuses, long term emergency rule, and, more recently rumors of preparing the monarchist president's son to succeed his father.
The convention will prohibit all stations operating in the Arab World from broadcasting material which is considered offensive to "the leaders or national and religious symbols" of Arab countries. Let alone that this phrasing puts the leaders in the same category as God, a tradition long upheld in many Arab countries (Jordan and Morrocco kings claim descent from Mohammad's lineage, while Gaddafi claims ancestral roots with no other than the angels of heaven) it is so vaguely written, that the lines between offensive and subjective criticisms are not longer relevant.
The document imposes on channels that no less than 30% of broadcast material should be produced by the Joint Arab Productions. A frameworks which lacks professionalism, content, funding or proper structures to provide material for 21st century journalism.
Channels could risk the permits being withdrawn, frozen and not renewed for not abiding by the document. They will also be subject to legal processes both in origin countries and second countries.
So when Arab leaders meet on something, this is what we get? Thanks, but no thanks! Please go home!