Satellite Chronicles:
July to December 2005
Complied by Raya Shokatfard

July 7
Head of Azeri Public TV wants to be on air in August "at whatever cost"

The newly-established Azerbaijani Public TV will go on air in August 2005 at whatever the cost, its director-general has said. In an interview with the Azerbaijani opposition newspaper Yeni Musavat, Ismayil Omarov denied reports on insufficient funding and said that the state bodies respond positively to all financial issues which he raises. Central News Agency website, Taipei.

July 7
Afghan TV reporter beaten up while filming

Roadblocks are one of the main problems for people in Kabul. When a government official passes, the residents of Kabul have to wait for a long time in hot weather until roads are reopened to traffic. On Tuesday [14 July], national security department officials beat up an Aina TV reporter who was trying to prepare a report from the scene. The problem was caused because the road was closed so that the car of government official could pass by. Aina TV, Sheberghan.

July 7
USA/Turkey: Joint venture to launch Internet TV service

Phase Technologies announced today [11 July] that Beyaz Holding Company, owner of Turkey's leading television news and entertainment station, has aired a segment on its "The Economy Today" series, describing the benefits of a planned digital television service via the privatized national telephone network. Beyaz Holding and mPhase have formed a joint venture, mPhase Teknoloji, which is awaiting a licence to deliver the internet television (IPTV) service targeted for delivery via Turk Telekom, the soon-to-be privatized national telecommunications company. mPhase Technologies press release, Little Falls, New Jersey

July 13
Malaysia: Media Prima signs deal with NTV7

Media Prima Bhd has entered into a Collaboration and Assistance Agreement with Natseven TV Sdn Bhd, Synchrosound Studio Sdn Bhd, Questseven Dot Com Sdn Bhd (the companies) and the respective companies' shareholders, to provide assistance for the companies to undertake a corporate and debt restructuring scheme and identify areas where both groups can form a strategic alliance to work together. Natseven TV is currently the owner and operator of NTV7, Malaysia's second free-to-air television network, whilst Synchrosound Studios and Questseven Dot Com Sdn Bhd are, respectively, the licence holder and operator of a radio station known as Wow FM, Media Prima said in a statement today. Under the agreement, Media Prima will use its expertise to assist the debt and corporate restructuring of the service companies, with the aim of strengthening the financial position and operations of NTV7 and Wow FM. Bernama news agency website, Kuala Lumpur

July 14
West Bank and Gaza: UAE donates broadcast equipment

Palestinian news agency Wafa website on 14 July carries a report on the Palestinian authorities receiving TV and radio broadcast equipment from the UAE. The report says: "The [Palestinian] National Authority received today in the Jordanian capital, Amman, five consignments of TV and radio broadcast equipment worth 1.2m dollars. This equipment was donated by the brotherly state of the UAE to the Palestinian people." The report adds that Dr Radwan Abu-Ayash, head of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC), expressed "the appreciation of the PBC, the National Authority and the Palestinian people to the UAE". He also stressed "the deep-rooted and solid relations between the UAE and Palestine".

Abu-Ayash adds that the equipment is expected to be shipped to Ramallah "with the aim of using it to expand TV and radio transmissions". Palestinian news agency Wafa web site, Gaza

July 14
Afghan TV reports journalist beaten up by military

Kamran Mirhazar, editor-in-chief of Chai-e Dagh [hot tea] weekly, has been beaten up by military officers in Kabul city.Similarly, four reporters were recently threatened and beaten up by a group of militiamen in Konar Province. This is the fourth journalist threatened and beaten up by armed men. According to Mirhazar, he was threatened and beaten up by military officers when he was taking pictures in a crowded area of Kabul city. He said there was no sign prohibiting photography in the area. Tolu TV, Kabul

July 15
Fined Bosnian TV to resume broadcasting on 1 September

Bosnian Alfa TV will resume broadcasting on 1 September 2005, the IRIB correspondent in Sarajevo reports based on information from one of the most widely read Bosnian papers, Dnevni avaz. This newspaper announced that Sanela Prasovic, famous journalist from Bosnian Federation TV, had been appointed director of Alfa TV after a meeting with the Avaz management [the owner of Dnevni avaz daily bought Alfa TV]. Alfa TV was previously fined 50,000 convertible marks for broadcasting religious programmes, by the Bosnian Communications Regulatory Agency, which is chaired by Jakob Finci, who is the head of the Bosnian Jewish Community. Radio Naba web site, Visoko

July 16
Indonesian paper notes increase in religious TV programmes

Tune in to virtually any local TV station during prime time these days and God-believing folk will find that the Supreme Being as they know Him has turned into a malevolent entity. The television programmes, regular soap operas with God's name attached to their title, carry a formulaic story line in which sinners of all kinds, from corrupt state officials and gamblers to a misbehaving son, will be punished by God with a very painful death, ranging from literally being burnt in hell, eaten by flesh-eating worms to being swallowed alive by the earth. By the drama's end, after a noisy commercial break, a preacher will appear on screen to give a sermon about what sinners will face in the afterlife in return for their misdemeanors and will remind viewers not to commit sinful acts.

Veven said that religious programmes gained currency after the populace was dealt a series of natural disasters such as the Aceh tsunami and unbearable social ills such as corruption. "In the face of such incomprehensible calamity people tried to escape from reality. They also grow desperate, as corruption remains unbridled; religious programmes are a kind of escapism," he said. The Jakarta Post web site, Jakarta

July 18
Four new state regional language PTV channels planned

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shaykh Rashid Ahmed Monday said four new channels of Pakistan Television would be launched to provide news, current affairs and entertainment programmes in regional languages. Pashto and Sindhi channels would be started in the first phase while a new centre of PTV would be established at Multan, the minister said while presiding over a meeting, the PTV reported. He said PTV is the custodian of the country's ideological boundaries, which presents programmes keeping in view its traditions and culture.

Appreciating the performance of PTV administration, Shaykh Rashid directed that arrangements be made to ensure countrywide transmissions and to expand the same to Islamic countries and Europe. Participating in the meeting, Secretary Information and Broadcasting Shahid Rafi stressed the need to provide expatriate Pakistanis quick access to news updates and entertainment programmes. Associated Press of Pakistan news agency, Islamabad

July 19
Yemen to launch independent youth channel in September

The Sanaa University is preparing for launching the first ever independent space channel for youths in Yemen's history. The initial broadcasting of the channel will start next September, said vice rector of Sanaa university, Ahmad al-Kebsi. Al-Kebsi expected that the channel starts its first broadcasting while celebrations on the occasion of the 26 September revolution. He said the channel will have programs dealing with youths in accordance with the media policy in the country. Saba news agency website, Sanaa

July 20
National TV station launched in Somaliland

Eng Selgio Carl, accompanied by Eng Mahmud Nasir and Eng Ali Mire, who in the recent past have been busy working on the installation of Somaliland national TV station, have this morning handed over the station to the minister of information and guidance, Hon Abdullahi Muhammad Du'ale, at the ministry's HQ. Radio Hargeysa in Somali.

July 20
Chairman of Palestine Radio and Television Corporation relieved of post

President Mahmud Abbas today decided to relieve Radwan Abu-Ayyash of his post as chairman of the Palestine Radio and Television Corporation and place him at the disposal of the minister of information. Palestinian news agency Wafa website, Gaza

July 20
Abu-Sumayyah appointed head of Palestine Radio and Television Corporation

Dr Nabil Sha'th, deputy prime minister and information minister, issued a decision this evening appointing brother Basim Abu-Sumayyah as chairman of the Palestine Radio and Television Corporation. The decision falls within the process of reconstructing and developing the work of Palestinian media outlets. The information minister commended the hard work carried out by former chairman of the Palestine Radio and Television Corporation, Dr Radwan Abu-Ayyash, who exerted great efforts to establish the corporation in the homeland amid critical conditions.Palestinian news agency Wafa website, Gaza

July 23
Court rules Croat vital interests not endangered by Bosnian Radio-TV law

The Bosnia-Hercegovina Constitutional Court has established that the bill on the Bosnia-Hercegovina Public Radio-TV system does not endanger the vital interests of Croats. The 6 July request to the Constitutional Court to reassess this law was submitted by the Bosnia-Hercegovina Parliamentary Assembly's House of Peoples' Speaker Velimir Jukic. SRNA news agency

July 23
Pakistan’s PM announces plan to launch new TV channels

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has said the government will launch four regional languages TV channels, a channel for youth, and sports channel, from next month which will not only promote national integrity and unity but would also promote our culture and traditions. The prime minister was addressing the turnaround ceremony of Pakistan Television at PTV Centre in Islamabad. Mr Shaukat Aziz said there is fast competition in the field of media in Pakistan with the emergence of private TV channels. He commended the efforts of PTV and expressed the hope that with the talent available, PTV would further excel in the existing competition. Associated Press of Pakistan news agency, Islamabad.

July 23
Pakistan: PTV projecting real culture, values and traditions, PM says

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz Saturday [23 July] said Pakistan Television has been projecting true image of the country and promoting real values and traditions. Addressing a function here at PTV headquarters, he announced that government would launch four new channels in provincial languages on 14 August, to promote national integrity, culture and tradition. The prime minister said the government would also launch a sports and a youth channel very soon. Press of Pakistan news agency, Islamabad

July 28
Saudi Arabia: New satellite channel Jedda TV "to promote tourism" in kingdom

Officials of the Jedda satellite channel (Jedda TV) have started their preparations for launching the new channel that will start broadcasting in September to promote and encourage tourism in Saudi Arabia. It will broadcast via the Arabsat satellites. The channel has a large number of tourism programmes that aim to promote domestic tourist activities that involve travel companies and agencies, hotels, resorts, restaurants, children's tourism, sports tourism and environmental tourism. It will also carry live relays of Saudi shares prices and a special programme about the economic and aesthetic aspects of gold and jewellery in addition to exhibitions, fairs, heritage and culture.

The channel will also focus on highlighting and promoting the advantages of domestic tourism so as to increase investments in remote areas in addition to showing an interest in Saudi heritage, highlighting the varied local cultures and bolstering national affiliation, especially among the young and teenagers, by promoting domestic tourism. The channel also allocated almost 15m riyals [4m US dollars] a year as financial support for 30 Saudi youths from both sexes every month to establish tourism projects with a capital of half a million riyals for every project. The aim is to create more jobs for Saudi youths and at the same time bolster Saudi tourism. This programme will be addressed to the youths under the title "Key to the Breakthrough". Elaph website, London

July 28
Bahrain: Al-Jazeera launches mobile phone text news service
The Al-Jazeera Channel and Al-Majaz Telecom have recently signed an agreement with Bahrain's Telecommunications Company Batelco to provide breaking, political, business, and sports news through Al-Jazeera Mobile Short Messaging Service SMS [phone text] to customers in Bahrain. Batelco subscribers in Bahrain can subscribe to Al-Jazeera Mobile, in Arabic or English, via calling 196 or by registering on the company's brand new mobile portal "aywah" (www.aywah.com.bh).

In the future, Al-Jazeera Channel will introduce the (WAP) technology, where "Batelco" subscribers can browse a selection of articles from the AlJazeera.Net website through their GSM, and "Video Streaming", where mobile owners can watch Al-Jazeera Channel news and programmes on their GSM. In addition to that, "aywah" has already introduced Al-Jazeera Mobile through its WAP portal (wap.aywah.com.bh), said a press release yesterday. Al-Jazeera Channel's Marketing Director Hamad Yahya Al-Nuaimi expressed his pleasure over the partnership with Batelco. "It is gratifying that Bahrain is another country to utilize our service, and can be added to the list of countries where Al-Jazeera Mobile is operating, such as, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, Palestine, Yemen, Sudan, and Syria. We are looking forward to extending the reach of Al-Jazeera Mobile service worldwide," he said.

"Our mobile portal (aywah) is primarily aimed at the youth market with a whole host of ring tones, wallpapers, screensavers, games, local news and so on. The addition of Al-Jazeera Channel news adds dimensions that extend the appeal of the service deeper into other areas of multi-media communication and into a wider marketplace," said Hamza Ali, Senior Manager Mobile Services at Batelco.

July 30
Afghan TV channel objects to paper's accusation of pro-Taleban reporting

Today's edition of Anis daily accused Tolu television of broadcasting biased and untrue reports in favour of terrorists. When asked by a Tolu correspondent for evidence, Sakhi Munir, the editor-in-chief of Anis, said they had no clear evidence.

The editorial published in Anis today says that the untrue reports, quoting the Taleban spokesman [Latifollah Hakimi], which are broadcast on Tolu television, are in favour of the Taleban and such reports support terrorism and play an active role in destabilizing the situation in the country.

Following these allegations, a Tolu correspondent interviewed Sakhi Munir, the editor-in-chief of Anis daily, and asked him for clear evidence to support these accusations. Mr Munir gave his personal opinion without providing any clear evidence and said that they had no evidence to prove their allegations. Tolu TV, Kabul.

July 30
"Middle East's biggest urban TV" inaugurated in Tehran

Iranian news agencies and newspapers have reported the inauguration of "the Middle East's biggest urban TV". The giant TV screen was inaugurated on 28 July and is located in Vanak Square in north Tehran. It is said to be the second such TV installed in Tehran.

The TV's main function will be to broadcast commercial and business advertisements for the area. Based on agreements, 70 per cent of the revenue from this function will go to the private sector for seven years in order to repay the capital and the profit [interest]. During this time, Tehran Municipality will have three hours per day, free of charge, to broadcast its own programmes for the education of citizens and to provide information. After seven years, the TV will belong completely to Tehran Municipality," Afruzmanesh reported. Iranian briefing material from BBC Monitoring

July 31
Afghan TV presenter wants to leave the country due to death threats

Sayed Solayman Ashna, a presenter and producer of the private Tolu TV station in Kabul, claims that he has not left his house for the past month and a half due to death threats he has received.

In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok news agency this week, Ashna said that someone by phone in a Kandahari accent threatened to kill him. He was the producer of the Hard Talk programme, and according to him it was this program that caused all the problems for him. Afghan independent Pajhwok news agency Web site.

July 31
Afghan religious scholar optimistic on new TV channel, supports drug campaign

The main subject of the meeting was the parliamentary election. Religious officials have made some recommendations to the president. The scholars asked Mr Karzai to put an end to the propaganda smear campaign of Afghanistan's enemies. We also discussed restricting non-Islamic broadcasts, the drinking of alcohol and taking of drugs, drug trafficking and ways to fight cultural onslaughts.
The president welcomed the scholars' request and promised to provide them with a TV station. As you are aware, Mullah Omar, the Taleban leader, has called on religious scholars to stop preaching against the Taleban. In response to this demand, the religious officials asked Mullah Omar to stop killing the innocent, in particular religious scholars. The duty of religious officials is to state the facts and the truth. They will never come under the influence of any power. Religious officials do not have a specific means to pass on their true message to the people. Consequently, they asked Mr Karzai to provide them with a special TV channel.

Religious officials play a significant role in preaching about the harm and disadvantages of narcotics. Poppy cultivation has fallen in the areas where there are religious officials who preach to the people on this. The people always listen to the advice of religious scholars and they have accepted that the cultivation and trafficking of poppy is illegal and against Islamic principles. I believe that in the campaign against narcotics, the role of religious officials is more important than the role of the police or counter-narcotics officials, who force the people to stop cultivating poppy.

There has been a tremendous fall in poppy cultivation. In 2001 and 2002, a lot of drugs were produced in the country and most farmers started to cultivate poppy. However, following the recent government restrictions and the advice of religious scholars, there has been a drop in poppy cultivation. In some provinces, poppy is not being cultivated at all. I believe that most of the drugs being transported by traffickers are from previous years. That is why neighbouring countries are still concerned about this issue.Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mashhad

August 8
Afghan TV channel outlines provisions for candidates campaign broadcasts

Aina TV's election studios have been opened in eight [Afghan] provinces. The publicity messages of parliamentary and provincial candidates will be recorded and broadcast in eight provinces during the formal campaigning period. An agreement has been signed by Aina TV, the JEMB's media commission and the Asia Foundation. Aina TV has set up its election studios in the provinces of Kabul, Balkh, Jowzjan, Fariab, Sar-e Pol, Takhar, Konduz and Samangan. All the necessary supplies have been provided to officials in eight regional studios. Aina TV, Sheberghan

August 8
Afghan private Tolu TV expands broadcast to southern city of Kandahar

The Tolu Television, a private TV channel in Afghanistan, has expanded its transmissions to Kandahar City on Monday. Saad Mohseni, director of the channel, said the step was part of their programme to expand Tolu's transmission to all big cities of the country.

He said their programmes had received warm welcome from the people which encouraged them to expand the spare of the transmission to other parts of the country as well. "Beside the expansion of the coverage area, we also want to bring improvement in our programmes in accordance with the demands of our audiences," Mohseni told Pajhwok Afghan News.

In an interview, he said that their programmes were now reaching more than 13 million people across the country. He said that apart from Kandahar, their programmes had been viewed in Kabul, Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif while it would cover the eastern city of Jalalabad within the next two weeks.
A statement issued from the TV station said Tolu TV also broadcast via satellite across the region, covering Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, India, Gulf States, Turkey, and Central Asia. Afghan independent Pajhwok news agency Web site.

August 8
Turkey: Plans for Kurdish TV broadcasting to be discussed by Security Council

While an arrangement is being prepared at the Radio and Television Supreme Council [RTUK] for local TV channels to broadcast in Kurdish, the matter has been "appended" to the agenda of the National Security Council [MGK] meeting scheduled for 23 August.

Prime Minister's Office sources say that although the military welcome the changes being made to the directive by RTUK acting under instructions from Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan they still harbour reservations. The topic, which will be taken up as an extra item on the agenda at the MGK meeting on 23 August, will later be discussed in detail, and the government will be told what the opinion is. The military thinks it will not be enough from the point of view of national security and the country's integrity for the institutions that will conduct broadcasting in Kurdish to give pledges. It thinks that a mechanism of stringent checks and supervision is necessary. One official said that news that the military was going to submit a dossier on PKK [Kurdistan Workers' Party] terrorism to the MGK did not represent the truth and that the agenda would cover the EU, Cyprus and Iraq. Sabah website, Istanbul

August 15
Saudi TV debate condemns romantic messages on music TV channels

Love messages sent by Saudi youths to Arabic music video channels are the subject of a discussion on Saudi TV at 1100 gmt on 15 August. This is one of a number of issues discussed in an episode of the daily "Welcome" [Ya hala] programme, an entertainment programme which is believed to have replaced the other programme with the same English title [Hayyakum].
The programme is presented by Sa'id al-Yami and this episode carries reports on archaeological and tourist sites in Saudi Arabia as well as Saudi songs. It also carries a report on the supposedly large number of Saudi youths who send cell phone text messages to Arabic music video channels, expressing their love for someone they admire. People, male and female, phone in expressing their disapproval of this trend, adding that youths should do something better with their time, like taking up sports or expanding their cultural activities.
The moderator ends the programme by saying that youths should be protected against wasting their time and money by making them aware of the harms of this habit. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia TV1, Riyadh

August 16
Lebanese parliament amends law, allowing anti-Syrian TV channel back on air

The Lebanese parliament passed the amendment of a law today which has allowed MTV, a private anti-Syrian TV channel [Murr TV, operated by Lebanese politician Gabriel Murr and based in the northern suburbs of Beirut], shut down on 4 September 2002, an official source said. The amendment to Article 68 of the law on the media was passed unanimously by those MPs present and excludes the possibility of damages being paid to the station, which was shut down following a decision by the appeal chamber of the press court. "This amendment constitutes a kind of amnesty and does not require the approval of the court," MP Butros Harb told the press. AFP news agency, Paris, in French

August 17
Lebanon: MTV reinstatement prompts call for fair media policy

Beirut: Lebanon "lacks a proper media policy and vision that defines the work of the media sector," according to Abdel Hadi Mahfouz, president of The National Media Council (NMC).Mahfouz, who yesterday delivered a report prepared by the NMC in collaboration with the Information Ministry to Speaker Nabih Berri on proposals to enhance the efficiency of the media sector, said: "This report can be considered the corner stone for establishing such a media policy and vision." He also commented on the Parliament's latest decision to allow Murr TV to re-initiate its broadcast after three years of closure. The Daily Star Web site, Beirut

August 18
Aina TV starts broadcast in western Afghanistan

TV has begun broadcasting in Herat city [western Afghanistan]. Aina TV is the first private television station in the country which can be viewed in more than 70 countries. Aina TV began its broadcasts in Herat city and its surroundings on Thursday 18 August. The Herat residents can now view it using a simple antenna. Aina TV's engineers have been installing receivers and transmitters for the last couple of days. Aina TV started broadcasting in Herat city today. Residents can view our programmes on 48.5 MHz, Canal 2 VHF from today. Aina TV can also be viewed in other provinces: Konduz, Takhar, Samangan, Kabul, Balkh, Jowzjan, Fariab, Sar-e Pol and Herat. Aina TV, Sheberghan

August 18
Turkey plans restrictions on TV broadcasts in minority languages

The Radio and Television High Council (RTUK) plans to require local and national television stations which intend to broadcast programmes in different languages and dialects to submit a written undertaking, which will be a precondition for obtaining a licence for airing such programmes, sources said. Those television stations, however, will not be permitted to broadcast programmes for children in different languages and dialects.

August 24
Saddam Hussein's daughter planning launch of TV channel from Jordan

Kuwait, 24 August: Raghad, daughter of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, intends to launch from Jordan a private satellite channel to talk about the "positive" aspects of her father's life, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Watan said. The newspaper quoted well-informed sources as saying the satellite will operate for 12 hours a day and former Ba'thist media men will prepare programmes that would "highlight" the role of Saddam.

The former Iraqi information adviser here Jawad al-Ali had denied alleged reports that he was cooperating with Raghad, the eldest daughter of Saddam, to set up a TV satellite channel that could be mouthpiece of the Iraqi resistance. MENA news agency, Cairo

August 24
Pakistan warns cable networks over "filthy and indecent" programmes

Pakistan Electronic Media Regularity Authority (PEMRA) has warned all cable network operators to avoid telecasting obscene programmes. According to a PEMRA press release issued here Wednesday [24 August] the federal law has been implemented to prohibit the cable operators from false, immoral and misleading programmes. "Under the same prescribed law PEMRA will revoke the licenses of operators who telecast filthy and indecent programmes. These programmes mislead the youth and damage our culture and society," the press release said.

If any viewer feels unsatisfactory from the programmes of the cable operators he can complain to the regional office. On their complaints the PEMRA Council of Compliant is competent authority to take strict action against the concerned operators after proper investigation. PEMRA is determined to promote the interests of the viewers. Associated Press of Pakistan news agency, Islamabad

August 24
Iran’s defeated candidate hopes satellite TV channel to launch in November

Hojjat ol-Eslam val-Moslemin Mehdi Karrubi [former Majlis Speaker and presidential candidate] thanked the members of his election campaign headquarters. He also said that providing an analysis of the presidential election, and explaining the platforms and objectives of the National Trust Party would form the two main issues that will be discussed in the party congress that will be held next Friday [26 August]. Karrubi also said: "We are trying to take [presumably purchase] a few hours on the satellite networks that are in keeping with the framework of the Islamic Republic system and to broadcast our programmes there until we start our own network. Some consultations have been carried out on this issue through Behruz Afkhami." By pointing out that probably within the next three months the programmes of the network would be broadcast, the secretary-general of the National Trust Party told the correspondent of ISNA: "Probably, our first programmes will be broadcast on Id al-Fitr [2 November]." Iran Daily website, Tehran.

August 25
Syria: Ministry allows private satellite TV stations

For the first time in the history of Syria, the Syrian Information Ministry allowed the establishment of private satellite television stations just two days ago. Media sources informed Al-Safir that the ministry has contacted the largest Syrian investors who had expressed their desire, implicitly or openly, in establishing private television stations and requested that they prepare the studies necessary to obtain a licence. The ministry also contacted individuals who had obtained licencing for private radio stations, for the same reason. Al-Safir Web site, Beirut

August 25
Watchdog condemns US military over rights of Iraqi journalist
The International Federation of Journalists [IFJ] today [25 August] backed calls from Reuters news agency for the United States to release Iraqi journalist Ali Omar Abrahem al-Mashhadani who has been held incommunicado in the infamous Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad for two weeks. "There is an intolerable denial of basic rights here," said Aidan White, IFJ general secretary. "This man is being denied visitors and there is growing concern about his welfare. The US authorities should reveal what, if anything, he is charged with or free him immediately."

The IFJ says that Iraqi journalists, even those working for foreign and Western news organizations, are being consistently targeted by the US military and that there are rarely proper inquiries into claims of abuse and maltreatment. Al-Mashhadani is a freelance cameraman and a well-respected member of the news team who has been working for Reuters for a year in Ramadi, capital of Anbar region. His predecessor for Reuters in Ramadi, Dhia Najim, was shot dead during fighting between US marines and insurgents last year. Colleagues fear that he may be the latest victim of a military prejudice against reporters who respond quickly to incidents that have led to false accusations of journalists being tipped off about insurgent attacks. International Federation of Journalists press release, Brussels.

August 26
Sudan to set up new radio, TV stations

The general manager of the [Sudan] Radio and Television Corporation, Dr Amin Hasan Umar, has said 46 FM and four SW radio stations will be set up to provide coverage in all Sudanese states. In addition to that, 26 new television stations will be set up to fulfil media requirements in the next phase thus implementing the peace agreement. [Passage omitted.] Al-Watan, Khartoum

August 29
Pakistan minister urges establishment of SAARC TV channel

Islamabad, 29 August: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sheikh Rashid Ahmad Monday [29 August] advocated for setting up a digital Television channel of SAARC [South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation] member countries. "We have proposed that there should be a combined digital Television channel for SAARC countries. Better cultural relations should also be set up among the SAARC countries," he told PTV by telephone from Kathmandu (Nepal). Frequent exchange of cultural programmes can bring them closer, he added.

Stressing the need for promotion of media-interaction among the SAARC member countries to resolve outstanding issues, he said regional issues confronted by SAARC countries, should be highlighted through enhanced electronic and print media cooperation and interaction among the member states. Expressing satisfaction over the improvement of relations with India, he added that disputes should be resolved for durable relations. Associated Press of Pakistan news agency, Islamabad.

August 30
Syria to license private TV channels soon

Damascus: Al-Ba'th has learnt that the Information Ministry has finished studying the applications it received for establishing private television channels. The ministry is expected to start giving approval soon. This step is added to the previous steps that allowed the establishment of private radios, which began transmission some time ago. There is also an intention to allow individuals to publish political newspapers. This adds to the current expansion in [nonpolitical] newspapers and magazine, the number of which has markedly increased in the past two years.

There is also emphasis on training to improve the performance of the media cadres and enable them to cope with changes and follow the development of the work of the media establishments, particularly the General Organization of Radio and Television. Al-Ba'th website, Damascus

August 31

Egypt: Minister says 2,000 reporters expected to cover presidential poll

Cairo, 31 August: The Ministry of Information will set up an international press centre to cover Egypt's presidential elections by local and international media and representatives of NGOs, Information Minister Anas al-Fiqi said Wednesday. The centre will help provide a full coverage of the presidential elections at the Egyptian and international levels, the minister added in statements to reporters. It will provide all communication means to reporters from all over the world, he said.

Voting and vote counting will be broadcast live from the headquarters of poll centres on large TV screens at the press centre. Public figures and NGOs' representatives will be given access to the centre to follow up the voting process and give their comments to international media reporters at the centre. The centre will also provide services to foreign correspondents who will come especially to cover the elections in addition to resident reporters. Some 2,000 reporters are expected to cover the historic event. MENA news agency, Cairo

August 31

Afghanistan: Tolu TV divides opinion in Kabul

Kabul-based IWPR staff reporter Hafizullah Gardesh writes about the praise, threats and controversy surrounding the emergence of Tolu television as it approaches its first anniversary. Afghanistan's deputy minister of broadcasting resigned last year, and now this report names Sayed Agha Hussain Fazel Sancharaki as the deputy minister for media affairs. The following is text of report in English by London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting Web site on 31 August; ellipses as published.

Anxiety is apparent among its 200 staff, about a third of whom are women--an unusually high figure in an Afghan enterprise. Many of the young employees working at the computers on programme production refuse to be interviewed, waving away the IWPR reporter. The nervousness is hardly surprising. One young female presenter was murdered several months ago, although the station boss believes her slaying was unrelated to her work at Tolo. Another staff member was forced to flee to Sweden and a third has stopped working for the station because of threats. Even Saad Mohseni, who heads the station which he and his brothers own, says he has been threatened.

Tolu--which means "dawn" in Dari--began broadcasting in October 2004 and has rapidly expanded ever since. It now operates around the clock and recently began broadcasting via satellite so it can viewed in more remote - and more conservative - parts of the country as well as Kabul. It has quickly become the most popular locally-produced television channel in the capital.

At the heart of the controversy are programmes featuring female singers and dancers, immodestly-clad by Afghan standards, and Hollywood films whose scenes of passionate love are even more problematic, although they seem tame by Western standards.

There is little neutral ground with Tolu. People either love or hate its broadcasts, which also reach neighbouring countries like Pakistan and conservative Iran by satellite.

Since the station started a year ago, its innovative news broadcasts have become among the most popular programmes in Afghanistan. The groundbreaking talk shows, which feature all-male panels, have also attracted little criticism. But the scenes of TV station staff of young men and women working, laughing and joking together which are shown as fill-in spots have drawn fire from critics who say they are un-Islamic and against Afghan tradition. Qiamuddin Kashaf, a member of the Shura-ye-Ulama, or Islamic Scholars' Council, acknowledges that some of the TV programmes are educational and provide information. But others, he says, go against Islamic law and Afghan culture and have already been criticised by his council and by Afghanistan's Supreme Court.
"The Islamic scholars' council just wants changes to some of the material broadcast by Tolu TV. It is not against the television station itself," he said. He singled out for criticism "foreign movies, and [scenes of] singing in which women appear semi-naked, or women dancing". TV chief Mohseni rejects the charges. He argues that most of the station's programming is modelled on, and in some cases acquired from, other Islamic nations.

One former mujahedin leader, Sheikh Mohammad Asef Mohseni, said all of Afghanistan's TV broadcasters now had both good and bad programmes, some of which could lead people to immoral ways. "We are under attack from foreign tradition and cultures. We must not lose our Islamic identity to these ... otherwise we will lose our liberty," he said. Broadcasting "naked movies" had a bad influence on young boys, encouraging them to immorality, said Sheikh Mohseni. "Instead of feeding our starving young people, we will drive them to the grave and feed them to the dragon of AIDS. Then we will call it liberty."

The controversy has drawn in the government. Sayed Agha Hussain Fazel Sancharaki, the deputy minister for media affairs, said people misuse the word liberty in the same way as many have misused the word jihad, or holy war. "We defend democracy within the framework of Islam and Afghan tradition... but achieving democracy does not take one day, one month or one year. It is a long path with many highs and lows, so we need to be careful and patient," he said.
"Tolu TV took advantage of the current freedom and has done some useful things. But beside the positive things, it has some programmes that provoke religious anger, which always puts us [the government] under pressure."

Shekib Isaar, who also worked for Tolu, fled the country and went to Sweden. According to Mohseni, "Shekib was a hard worker and had lots of energy. Some of the street gangs threatened him, and he was once attacked and wounded with a knife. Finally he lost his morale, but maybe he will come back after a few months." Talking about one of Tolu's best presenters, Mohseni said, "Sayyed Sulaiman Ashna was threatened like the others, and he has preferred not to work for some time."

The programmes have polarized people and provoked more debate than any other television station - government-run National TV, and the four other independents, Afghan, Aina, Ariana and the Herat-based Saqee.

The controversy does not deter advertisers. "When we launched Tolu TV, USAID gave us some equipment but now we are self-sufficient and we cover all our costs through advertisements on the television and [sister company] Arman Radio," said Mohseni.

For fans like Ahmad Jawed, "Tolu is like the salt in food.... only all the others are without salt". But the television station also has many critics, including Kabul schoolteacher Zarmina, who sees it as an enemy of the country's culture and Islamic law.
Mohammad Eshaq, aged 37 who has a television repair shop, said some Tolu programmes, like the news and round table discussions, are good. But others run contrary to Islam, he thinks, "Tolu gives poison to the people, covering it with honey." Institute for War and Peace Reporting Web site, London

September 1
Azerbaijani private TV opens office in Moldova

The Teleradio-Moldova public company signed a cooperation agreement with the Azerbaijani [commercial] TV station Lider about two months ago. Results were quick to come. A representative office of this channel was opened in Chisinau today. For the time being, only one TV crew is preparing reports for Baku. But Azerbaijani correspondent (?Elmira Alsanova) says that in the future the editorial team will be bigger. Moldova One TV, Chisinau, in Russian

September 1
New Tajik TV channel mainly cultural - TV boss

The new Tajik TV channel to be launched on 3 September will be mainly entertainment, its director said in an interview posted on the Asia-Plus website on 1 September.
Asked about its difference from Tajik TV, the head of the Tajik state TV second channel Safina (Ship) said: "We shall have our own format, new show programmes and brilliant young people. At least, we shall strive for this. Moreover, we are seriously intended to be engaged in boosting people's culture. Moreover, competition is necessary for the development of television. Right in this way we shall compete with Tajik TV." The television will broadcast from 0800 to 2000 (from Asia-Plus news agency website, Dushanbe

September 1
Several TV, radio stations issued with broadcasting licences in Azerbaijan

Baku: The National TV and Radio Council held a session on 31 August to extend the broadcasting licence of the Kapaz TV channel for six years. At the same time, a TV and radio broadcasting licence was issued to the Azerbaijani TV and Radio Programmes closed-type joint-stock company, a radio broadcasting licence to the Burc FM limited liability company and a cable TV licence to the Digicom limited liability company, the National TV and Radio Council said in a press release. Turan news agency, Baku

September 1
Azerbaijani private TV opens office in Moldova

The Teleradio-Moldova public company signed a cooperation agreement with the Azerbaijani [commercial] TV station Lider about two months ago. Results were quick to come. A representative office of this channel was opened in Chisinau today. For the time being, only one TV crew is preparing reports for Baku. But Azerbaijani correspondent (?Elmira Alsanova) says that in the future the editorial team will be bigger. Moldova One TV, Chisinau

September 2
Azeri media expert criticizes Public TV

Text of report by Sevinc Telmanqizi in Azerbaijani newspaper Yeni Musavat on 2 September headlined "Public TV does not satisfy specialists either" and subheaded "Rafiq Huseynov: This channel was dead before it was born" and "Cahangir Mammadli: Those who came here from the Azerbaijani state channel have failed to adapt themselves to this environment." Yeni Musavat, Baku, 2 Sep 05 p 12.

September 5
Ariana TV starts broadcasting in northern Afghan city

Balkh Governor Atta Mohammad Nur received Mohammad Reza Hazrati, the general director of Ariana Television Network [ATN], and Saraj, the chief technician of ATN, today.The general director, speaking regarding the programmes of ATN said: Balkh is the second province after Kabul that ATN starts its broadcast in. He said that they wanted to serve the Afghan people through broadcasting programmes according to Islamic and Afghan values.

September 5

Bangladesh: Cable TV network policy finalized

Policy for the cable television network has been finalized, reports UNB. It will be sent to cabinet meeting for approval soon, said an official release on Sunday [4 September]. The ninth cabinet committee meeting on "cable television network policy reformulation" took the decision at the conference room of Information Ministry on Sunday after reviewing the draft policy.

Later, the information minister told the journalists that in absence of a cable television network policy the trend of broadcasting programmes contrary to audience's demand is being increased. "The cable operators are also broadcasting their own programmes which sometimes undermine tradition and values of the country," the minister said.

He said that the government would formulate the policy for upholding culture, tradition and values of the country and for stopping indiscriminate use of the cable television network by the operators. Indiantelevision.com website, Mumbai, in English, Sep 05

September 5
New director appointed for Iranian TV's Channel 1

Tehran, 5 September: Morteza Mirbaqeri, the Voice and Vision's deputy head for TV, has issued a decree appointing Alireza Barazesh as the director of the Vision's Network 1. According to Fars's reporter, Alireza Barazesh was in charge of the office for the dissemination of the eminent leader's [Khamene'i's] works and took part, as an expert on religious affairs, in the "Passenger from India", "Help Me", "Like a Stranger", etc. series. The ceremony for introducing Alireza Barazesh and bidding farewell to Reza Ja'fari-Jelveh is to be held this afternoon at the Mowlana Hall of the centre for international conferences. Fars News Agency website, Tehran, 5 Sep 05.

September 5
Malaysia: New pay-TV platform launches

Kuala Lumpur: The waiting is finally over. Malaysians will now have a choice of pay TV station when MiTV Corporation begins operations from Monday [5 September], breaking the existing monopoly of Astro Television. Bernama news agency website, Kuala Lumpur, 5 Sep 05

September 8

Pakistan: Government to approve 37 new TV channels - minister

The government this month is extending permission to 37 more television channels to go on air. This was stated by Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Shaykh Rashid Ahmed. The Minister said with the passage of a Bill to this effect in the Senate, the total number of private channels to go on air would be 50.

Shaykh Rashid said these days the media has emerged as an important weapon in the world - it is a life saving drug as well as a lethal one. He also congratulated the chief of the TVOne Channel, Tahir Khan, his wife, Seema, and family on the launch of TVOne. Associated Press of Pakistan news agency, Islamabad, 8 Sep

September 8
Qatar: Al Jazeera airs Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 on 11 September

As part of its special schedule for commemorating the 9/11 anniversary, Doha-based Al Jazeera Satellite Channel aired a trailer for Michael Moore's movie, "Fahrenheit 9/11," saying it will air it in full and that this will be the first time the film is shown "on an Arab television station."

The trailer said: "One of the most controversial and thought-provoking movies: 'Fahrenheit 9/11,' which won several world prizes, will show for the first time on an Arab television station, exclusively on Al-Jazeera Channel." The film will be shown at 1705 UTC on Sunday 11 September. Al-Jazeera TV, Doha, 8 Sep 05

September 9
Afghan radio, television gets new director general

At the proposal of Information, Culture and Tourism Ministry, the president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has appointed Gholam Hasan Hazrati [former director general of Afghan radio and television] as the cultural attache of Afghan embassy in Tajikistan, Najib Roshan as the general director of Radio/Television Department and Shams al-Haq Arianpur as the editor of daily Eslah. Radio Afghanistan, Kabul, in Pashto, 4 Sep 05

September 9

Azeri Public TV given permanent broadcasting licence

Baku: Public TV has been given a permanent licence, Tavakkul Dadasov, acting head of the testing, programming and analysis section of the national TV and radio council, has said. Admitting that there are technical problems in Public TV, Dadasov also noted current shortcomings, i.e. the lack of professionalism in the work of company employees: "Since Public TV is a new channel, the presence of such problems is natural. We hope that these problems will be eliminated in Public TV in the near future." Dadasov also said that the licences of the private TV channels ANS, Lider and Space will expire in October. Therefore, these TV channels will be given new broadcasting licences. The licence of Ganca's Kapaz TV has also been renewed. news agency, Bilik Dunyasi Baku, in Russian, 7 Sep 05.

September 9
Palestinian news agency says Israeli soldiers fire at Egyptian TV crew

Ramallah: The Egyptian Television today confirmed that one of its crews working in the Palestinian territories came under fire near the Governorate of Ramallah and Al-Birah, adding that two of its reporters suffered suffocation and their vehicle was seriously damaged.
The Egyptian Television said in a statement, a copy of which was received by WAFA, that its crew members came under fire by the Israeli occupation soldiers while providing coverage of a mass demonstration in the village of Bal'in protesting against the racial separation wall. The statement pointed out that the soldiers fired rubber bullets and tear gas inside the crew's vehicle, causing the suffocation of the crew members. For its part, Egyptian Television Correspondent Muna Hawwash said the attack was intentional and deliberate because the soldiers opened fire on the car after the crew received permission to pass through the area. Palestinian news agency Wafa website, Gaza, 9 Sep 05

September 9
Afghan clerics request ban on "immoral" TV programmes
Hamed Karzai, president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, had a meeting with representatives of the Afghan Ulema Council this afternoon. Mawlawi Gholam Rabbani and Mawlawi Mojahaz spoke on behalf of others and voiced their support for the elected government. They also stated their demands in a statement. Part of the statement reads:
The Afghan Ulema Council calls on all the people to vote for those candidates who are true Muslims and are able to serve the Muslim Afghan nation. The Afghan Ulema Council once again called on the relevant officials to prevent the import, smuggling, sale and use of alcoholic drinks and the broadcast of immoral films, programmes and dances on Afghan television stations. They should save the Afghan people, particularly the young generation, from this serious disaster.
In turn, the Afghan president said he was pleased to meet Afghan scholars and described religious scholars as a strong pillar of society. He said Afghan scholars occupied an important position and status before the government and the people He added that the scholars' demands would be given consideration. Radio Afghanistan, Kabul

September 9

Iraq: Toll of media victims nears 100, notes watchdog
The International Federation of Journalists today condemned the killing of a television technician in Mosul, the third media victim in the town over the past week and a shooting that brings to 99 the number of journalists and media staff killed in Iraq since the invasion of the country in March 2003. Ahlam Yusuf, an engineer working for Al-Iraqiyah television, was shot on Wednesday [21 September] while driving with her husband, who was also killed. Their son was seriously wounded in the attack.

Yusuf's murder follows the killing of Firas Ma'didi, 36, bureau chief for Al-Safir and chief editor of the local daily Al-Masar, who was killed by unidentified gunmen in the city on Tuesday. A day earlier, the body of Hind Ismayl, a 28-year-old reporter for Al-Safir, was found in a suburb of the town. Al-Safir, based in Baghdad, is an independent newspaper which has criticized insurgent attacks against Iraqi civilians, calling them terrorist operations.

Al-Iraqiyah has been increasingly targeted because of its ties to the US-supported Iraqi government. Insurgents in Mosul have killed at least three other employees of the station and its affiliates in 2005, and Al-Iraqiyah offices have repeatedly come under mortar attack.

Last Monday [19 September] Fakhir Haydar, who had worked for over two years for the New York Times, was found dead three km south-west of Basra with his hands bound and a single bullet wound to the head.

"These are clearly targeted killings which aim to censor local Iraqi journalists from reporting on democratic change in Iraq," said White. "The international community must intervene now to support the Iraqi media." International Federation of Journalists press release

September 10
Former Iranian Speaker launching Saba satellite TV

Tehran: Former Majlis Speaker Mehdi Karrubi would not be prevented by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) from establishing his private satellite network named 'Saba', a morning daily reported here Saturday [10 September].
'Iran Daily' quoted Behruz Afkhami, a well-known film maker and also former MP, as saying that after becoming operational, the Saba network "will be similar to BBC, CNN and other television news networks". Afkhami who is also responsible for launching the network noted that "certain political currents" were worried about its setting up by Karrubi more than being "concerned about satellite televisions run by banned opposition groups that are based overseas", the English-language daily said. Asked whether the IRIB would help Karrubi launch Saba, Afkhami said: "It depends on IRIB chief (Ezzatollah Zarghami) and his policies."

The paper quoted Afkhami as saying IRIB can issue permits for private television networks. IRNA website, Tehran, 10 Sep 05

September 10
Afghan journalists complain about ill-treatment by security officials

The head of the Afghan Voice Agency [AVA] told a news conference at the Setara Hotel in Kabul today that the government should take proper measures to guarantee the safety of journalists and to look into cases of violence against them.

The news conference was held by the Afghan Voice Agency. [Head of AVA] Mr Mazari called on the Information and Culture Ministry, the government and the international community to pay attention to journalists' problems. He spoke about the incident of 8 September during which two journalists of the Afghan Voice Agency were detained and beaten up by the officials of the National Security Directorate in District No 10 [Kabul city]. He added that they would prosecute those involved in the incident.

He said journalists would not be able to fulfil their duties properly and inform the people of Afghanistan and the world about the procedures and programmes for the parliamentary elections if the government did not take proper measures to prevent such irresponsible activities.

According to the official, a number of people want to take advantage of their posts and make plots against government departments so they can seek asylum in European countries. Addressing the news conference, Rahimollah Samandar, head of the independent union of Afghan journalists, said the government was putting pressure on the media and journalists to stop them from reporting on the parliamentary elections independently and impartially. Tolo TV, Kabul, 10 Sep 05.

September 10
Qatar: Al-Jazeera launches children's channel
The Al-Jazeera network has launched an Arabic-language children's channel. The channel was inaugurated on Friday [9 September] in the presence of Shaykha Mozah Bint-Nasir al-Misnad, wife of the emir of Qatar and the key force behind the venture, as well as 22 children representing the different Arab states.

Sheikha Mozah said the channel was a "decision made to meet the needs of our children". "I hope this channel is a bridge for communication between Arab children and children around the world," she added. Al-Jazeera Children's Channel (JCC) is the first Arabic-language channel dedicated to children and will produce 40 per cent of its own programmes, a ratio touted as being one of the highest of any children's channel worldwide.

"Through the concept of 'Edutainment', JCC opens up avenues for Arab children to learn about different environments and cultures," the channel's statement said. "It also helps them develop self-esteem, respect their traditions and values, appreciate people around them and develop a passion for learning," he added.

Based in the Qatari capital Doha with a staff of around 235, JCC will feature a range of programmes for children aged between three and 15. The channel will air regular debates covering issues facing Arab children as well as productions on health, science and current affairs.

"In view of the existing state of television, where children are exposed to violent and inappropriate material on a daily basis, HH Shaykha Mozah made a momentous decision to establish Al-Jazeera Children's Channel," said Shaykh Hamad Bin-Thamir Al Thani, chairman of the board of Al-Jazeera Group. But while the emphasis of the channel is largely on education, its management stresses that it has not forgotten that fun and games are what really make children tick.

The Al-Jazeera Children's Channel is hoping to build on the success of the Al-Jazeera brand, which already includes the Arabic news station and two Al-Jazeera sports channels. Al-Jazeera will be launching a global English-language news channel Al-Jazeera International next year, as well as an Arabic-language documentary channel.

"Al-Jazeera is no longer just a news channel. Al-Jazeera is now a brand name and it is a brand name which is diversifying its activities," Bouneb said.

[A report on the Gulf Times of Doha website on 10 September added that the channel was a joint venture between Al-Jazeera and the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, which is headed by Shaykha Mozah.] Aljazeera.net Web site, 10 Sep 05.

September 15
Media space in Bosnia-Hercegovina overcrowded

[Presenter] The issue of the public broadcasting system is the reason for our research of the media space in Bosnia-Hercegovina, how many radio and TV stations we have, how do they survive and what is the competition like. You will hear information that says that almost every municipality in this country has its radio or TV station. We are overdoing it, as usual, in comparison with other countries.

[Reporter] Before the Communications Regulatory Agency of Bosnia-Hercegovina started to work, we could hear or see over 300 radio and TV stations. At this moment, there are over 140 radio and 39 TV stations. The public broadcasting system is not included in this number. Most of the stations are commercial or are undergoing privatisation. [Passage omitted]
[Dunja Mijatovic, Communications Regulatory Agency] In my opinion, this is still a very large number, considering the economic situation. However, if we compare ourselves with our neighbours, not to mention the European Union, we are in a much better situation. For example, Serbia and Macedonia are in a state of chaos, which is even worse than we had before 1998. Our regulation system is being used as a model. [Passage omitted]

[Adnan Osmanagic, director of Sarajevo-based Old Town Radio] We do not work in a favourable environment, knowing the situation in the country. The marketing cake is too modest for such a great number of media houses in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Independent TV Hayat, Sarajevo, in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Sep 05

September 18
Egypt: African Union delegation to discuss pan-African TV channel

A round of talks between the Egyptian Information Ministry, the Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU) and a delegation from the African Union [AU], under Desmond Orejako, the AU legal adviser in charge of discussing a pan-African radio and television project, is to kick off on Monday [18 September]. The delegation also comprises Communications Expert Assan BA and AU resource-person for the project Alfred Opudo.
During the Sirte Summit, Egypt presented to the AU a proposal to host the terrestrial broadcasting centre of the channel. It also expressed readiness to provide technical facilities for the centre to function properly and to make use of its satellite capabilities. Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade had proposed to establish the channel. MENA news agency, Cairo, 18 Sep 05

September 19
Poll reportedly finds Al-Sharqiyah TV Iraqis' preferred local channel

Iraqi Al-Sharqiyah TV at 1000 gmt on 19 September, before the start of its scheduled newscast, aired the following self-promotional report against the background of previously-aired programmes and news stories: "The first remains the first. Al-Sharqiyah is always at the forefront. The latest opinion poll shows that Al-Sharqiyah ranks first when compared with local channels; its approval rating is 78.43 per cent. Iraqis have ranked it fourth when compared with other Arab channels." Al-Sharqiyah, Baghdad, 19 Sep 05

September 20
Afghanistan: Chief of state television promises improvements

Addressing staff of the Afghan Radio and Television
Department at a meeting which took place in the hall of the Afghan [state] TV building today, the chief of Afghan Radio and Television, Najib Roshan, spoke about broadcasting, technical improvements, personnel training and the establishment of a training centre for employees of Radio and Television Afghanistan. He also urged his staff to make concerted efforts [to improve the quality of their broadcasts]. He said that unlike in the past, friendly countries were not eager to provide contributions to Afghan Radio and Television. He said that he would embark upon some concrete programmes to channel the aid provided from abroad and bring about creative reforms in broadcasts.

He highlighted the importance of modern journalism and said: With the help of UNICEF, we have offered 12 scholarships to our employees to attend a training programme in Kuala Lumpur. He said that three orchestras comprising Afghan artists will be formed and the aim is to hold unique concerts on the first anniversary of the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, adding that some of the studios will also be named after a number of deceased artists. Television Afghanistan, Kabul, 20 Sep 05

September 21
Iraqi TV reports two Iraqi press journalists killed in Mosul

An Iraqi police source has announced that two Iraqi journalists were killed in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The source, who preferred to remain anonymous, said Firas al-Ma'didi, who was employed as a journalist for the Al-Safir newspaper based in Baghdad, was shot dead by unknown gunmen in front of his home in the Al-Nur neighbourhood, in the centre of the city.
A source at the Al-Safir newspaper said Hind Isma'il, who worked for the newspaper, was also killed Monday [19 September] in the city of Mosul, and the motive remains unknown. Al-Sharqiyah, Baghdad, 21 Sep 05

September 21
Al-Arabiya TV demands release of Iraq correspondent said held by US

An official spokesman for the US army in Iraq has told Al-Arabiya that its correspondent Majid Hamid is currently being detained in Al-Anbar prison, and that he was arrested last Saturday [17 September]. While expressing surprise at the delay in the announcement that its correspondent is being detained by the US forces, without pressing any charges against him, Al-Arabiya calls for the release of colleague Hamid immediately. Al-Arabiya TV, Dubai, 21 Sep 05

September 21
Egypt closes Hezbollah TV office over programme critical of Mubarak

As a result of the broadcast of an episode of the "What Next?" programme hosted by Amr Nassif, Egyptian authorities issued a decision ordering the suspension of Al-Manar channel's broadcast and closing down its offices in Cairo. The programme criticized the Egyptian regime and President Husni Mubarak in the aftermath of presidential election victory.
The Egyptian Ministry of Information requested that the NileSat company for satellite services suspend the broadcast of the episode of "What Next?", in which Egyptian human rights activist Nijad al-Bar'i and journalists Abd-al-Azim al-Mughrabi and Muhammad Izz-al-Din took part, because of what the ministry described as a violation, defamation and slander against the Egyptian president. Al-Manar made its final live transmission from Cairo within the context of its coverage of the redeployment of Egyptian forces at the Rafah border crossing following the withdrawal of the occupation [Israeli] forces from the Gaza Strip.

Mahmud Bakri, Al-Manar's bureau chief in Cairo, has said that "negotiations are currently under way between Al-Manar officials from its base in Beirut and the Egyptian media leadership figures, to arrive at a formula to ensure the continuation of the channel's operation in Egypt". The head of the station's public relations division ask for "postponing any comment on the matter for two days until the picture becomes clearer". Farhat [reference unclear] said that "what took place means the suspension of the broadcast of the mentioned episode and will naturally not reach [the stage] of suspending the station's transmission completely". Al-Safir Web site

September 23
Iraq: President has meeting with newspaper and television heads

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has stressed keenness to protect the independent national media in Iraq and to support the intellectual pluralism in the framework of a democratic and federal Iraq that guarantees human rights.

While receiving the chief editors of newspapers and directors of television stations in the first meeting of its kind in Iraq, the Iraqi president said that he, personally, the Presidency Council, and the Judicial Council are keen on protecting the freedom of the Iraqi media, in addition to protecting the freedom and the dignity of the workers in this field. President Talabani welcomed the proposal made by Ahmad Abd-al-Majid, chief editor of the Iraqi edition of Al-Zaman newspaper, to establish a media council that would include the chief editors of newspapers and directors of national media institutions. The duty of this council will be looking into the controversial issues and setting the principles of a national media code of honour.
Ala al-Dahhan, Al-Sharqiyah television director-general of programmes, suggested enhancing the moral and legal outlines that would guarantee the freedom of the national independent media being the fruit of democracy in Iraq. Participating in the meeting, which was characterized by frankness and friendliness and the details of which will be broadcast by Al-Sharqiyah Television today, are the chiefs of the audiovisual and print media. Al-Sharqiyah, Baghdad, 23 Sep 05

September 23
Pakistan Broadcasters Association established
Karachi: Broadcasters in Pakistan on Friday [23 September] announced the establishment of the Pakistan Broadcasters Association, a representative body comprising both television and radio broadcasters in Pakistan, at a meeting in Karachi. Associated Press of Pakistan news agency, Islamabad, 23 Sep 05

September 23
Saudi Arabia to consider Turkish call to bar Kurdish Roj TV on Arabsat

Ankara: On Thursday [22 September], Denmark rejected a request to revoke the broadcasting rights of Roj TV, saying the network does not breach Danish laws. Ankara wants to have Roj TV, which currently broadcasts on Arabsat, taken off the air. Turkey has complained that the station, which broadcasts into Turkey, carried propaganda for the PKK [Kurdistan Workers' Party] and also airs reports on Turkish troop movements in the south-east of the country, hindering anti-terrorist operations. The Saudi Arabian authorities are to investigate the request, as Roj TV has started using Arabsat to expand its broadcast coverage into the Middle East. NTV Online website, Istanbul, 23 Sep 05

September 26

Al-Jazeera to appeal against Spanish jail sentence for its reporter Alluni

Pan-Arab satellite channel Al-Jazeera has said it will appeal after a Spanish judge sentenced its correspondent Taysir Alluni to seven years in prison for collaborating with Al-Qa'idah. "The verdict is very disappointing and we consider it unfair and we will contact immediately the legal defence team to study the possibilities of appealing it," Al-Jazeera general manager Waddah Khanfar said on Monday [26 September]. The channel said it was an unjust sentence and a dangerous and unprecedented action in the history of journalism. It also called on the Spanish authorities to release Alluni on bail, due to his poor health.

Alluni, who had insisted on his innocence throughout Europe's biggest Al-Qa'idah trial, interviewed the group's leader Usamah Bin Ladin in Afghanistan weeks after the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States. Accused of acting as a financial courier to the group while in Afghanistan, Alluni, who had faced a maximum nine-year term, said in testimony he was only doing his job as a journalist.

First arrested in September 2003, Alluni was later released on bail on health grounds - he suffers from a weak heart and back problems - only to be arrested again and jailed in Madrid in November 2004.He was released to house arrest in March, but taken back into custody on 16 September. Aljazeera.net website, 26 Sep 05

September 26
Ariana TV begins broadcasting in west Afghanistan
Ariana Television aired its programmes in Herat Province last night, 37 days after it was launched. According to one of the TV station's local officials, the main goal of the TV station is to publicize authentic Afghan culture, which is very popular among the people. After Kabul, Kandahar, Mazar-e Sharif [Balkh] and Jalalabad [Nangarhar] Provinces, Herat is the fifth province in which the TV station has begun broadcasting. The main difference between Ariana and other TV stations is that this TV does not repeat its programmes. Herat News Centre, Herat 26 Sep 05

September 26
Yemeni journalists protest jailing of Al-Jazeera reporter by Spanish court

Sanaa: The Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS) was shocked by the unfair verdict passed by the Spanish Judiciary against Taysir Alluni correspondent of the Doha-based Al-Jazeera channel, a denunciation statement said Monday [26 September] afternoon. "The YJS demands that Alluni's conviction be reconsidered," the statement says. "It [the conviction] contradicts with the international moral and legal principles. The syndicates demands the release of colleague Taysir Alluni, with whom we express our total solidarity."
Alluni, who interviewed Usamah Bin-Ladin in Afghanistan weeks after the 11 September attacks in the United States said he was only doing his job as a journalist, but the prosecution alleged he was in league with Al-Qaidah and its leader and accused of acting as a financial courier to the group while in Afghanistan. [Passage omitted on other terrorist suspects in trial]

The YJS appeals to its members and local and international NGOs to show solidarity with Alluni. In the same statement, YJS condemned the assassination attempt plotted against Lebanese journalist Mi Shidyak of the LBC channel. Yemen Observer website, Sanaa, 26 Sep 05

September 26
Former Iranian Speaker cited on plans for satellite TV station
Fars reports that Mehdi Karrubi, who was speaking on Saturday [24 September] at the sixth general assembly of the Islamic Azad University's student groups said in relation with the establishment of the National Trust Party and the satellite television channel: We have received the approval in principle on the National Trust Party, and its articles of association and manifesto have also been compiled and should be approved so that the license for the party will be issued. Meanwhile, the party's representatives are working in all the provinces so that the party's branches will be activated when the license is issued. Karrubi went on to add: We have also received the license for the party's newspaper and we are in contact with the chief editors of newspapers and publications so that they can cooperate with us. We are also following up the activities for setting up the television station. E'temad website, Tehran
Sept 26

Lebanese TV debate on attempted assassination of presenter
The attempted assassination of the Lebanese news presenter Mayy Shidyaq was the topic of Lebanese LBC Sat TV's 145-minute live talk show "People's Talk" broadcast at 1835 gmt on 26 September. Guests of the programme were Marwan Hamadah, minister of telecommunications, via satellite link from his residence in Beirut; Ilyas al-Murr, deputy prime minister and defence minister, on the phone from Zurich; MP Dr Farid al-Khazin, member of the Reform and Change Bloc, in the studio; Brig-Gen Ilyas Hanna, strategic expert, in the studio; Sean McCormack, US State Department spokesman, via satellite link from Washington; and Aidan White, secretary-general of the International Federation of Journalists, on the phone from Brussels. The programme was moderated by Marcel Ghanim.

Asked why Mayy Shidyaq was targeted, Hamadah says: "I would like to stress that by targeting Mayy, everything that has been achieved in Lebanon recently has been targeted. In other words, everything that has been achieved since the martyrdom of martyr leader Rafiq al-Hariri, including the withdrawal of Syrian troops, parliamentary elections, the formation of a broad-based government, as well as the progress being made in the Mehlis report, which has taken with it four major figures of the former era of Lebanese-Syrian intelligence. Mayy represented Lebanon's joy, smile, freedom, and free and balanced speech on every level and with everyone she interviewed."

He continues: "Through Mayy, independence, freedom, free decision-making, an elected government, a free parliament, an open media, and Lebanon's redemption of its integrity after many years of custodianship, were targeted." LBC Sat TV, Beirut

September 27
Bahrain: Noorsat predicts doubling of satellite TV channels to Middle East

Noorsat, headquartered in Bahrain, the newest entrant to the Middle East satellite communications sector, predicts the number of television channels broadcasting to the Middle East region will double in the next five years. The bullish outlook follows Noorsat's agreement to use the capacity of two Eutelsat satellites which will be practically co-located at the Middle Eastern hotspots of 7 degrees west and 26 degrees east.

A key part of the Noorsat strategy is to create an Arabic and ethnic hotspot for Europe by leasing capacity on the Eutelsat AB2 craft at 8 degrees west. AB2 is a very powerful satellite that will allow reception of transmitted television programmes in all of Europe using very small dishes. Noorsat believes that this will become the satellite position of choice to provide indigenous content to the large Arab and ethnic communities in Europe. Two state-of-the-art uplink facilities have been established in Bahrain and Greece to ensure service integrity and quality. More uplink facilities will be established in other Arab countries to meet customer demand. The Noorsat platform is currently being licensed as a satellite operator in Saudi Arabia. Arab News website, Jedda

September 27
Iraq/USA: Watchdog condemns "targeting" of Iraqi journalists by military

The International Federation of Journalists today expressed concern over the targeting of Iraqi journalists by military authorities and called on United States forces to release a leading television reporter detained without explanation two weeks ago.

Majid Hamid, a reporter for the Al-Arabiya news channel, is one of a number of journalists to be detained without charge or explanation from the authorities. In recent months several Iraqi reporters working for international news organizations have been held for lengthy periods without being charged.

"We are very concerned that there is no word about why he has been held in what appears to be a premeditated action against him," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "This man is acknowledged as a hard-working professional whose work has taken him into some of Iraq's most dangerous places from where he has delivered much ground-breaking journalism." The IFJ says that Iraqi journalists whose energy and resourcefulness is producing some of the most telling reporting from the region are also among those most likely to face harassment from the military.

"There have been a number of cases of journalists being targeted simply because they get to the scene of an incident quickly. In the eyes of the army this is suspicious, but in effect they are penalized for doing their job too well," said White.
Al-Arabiya say that Hamid has been an eye-witness to combat incidents between US forces and armed groups in Fallujah, Al-Qa'im, Ramadi, Haditha, Rawa and most recently Tall Afar, where he was the only broadcast reporter on the spot in a major confrontation. His reports have received global coverage.

Last week, freelance cameraman Samir Muhammad Nur working for Reuters, who was arrested by Iraqi troops at his home in the northern town of Tall Afar four months ago, was found by a secret tribunal to be "an imperative threat to the coalition forces and the security of Iraq". At least four other journalists working for international media are being held without charge by the US military in Iraq.

"These detentions, which appear to have been calculated actions, make no sense at all," said White. "There should be an official explanation as to the whereabouts of all our colleagues and concrete reasons for their arrests. If not, we can only assume that once again Iraqi journalists brave enough to try to report freely are being victimized." International Federation of Journalists press release, Brussels

September 27
Pakistan: New Urdu channel TV One launched on AsiaSat 3S
Satellite operator Asia Satellite Telecommunications Company (AsiaSat) and Airwaves Media of Pakistan have signed a lease agreement for C-band capacity on AsiaSat 3S [105.5 degrees east] for digital free-to-air distribution of a new Urdu television channel, TV One, to Pakistan and over 50 countries and regions in the Asia Pacific. TV One has commenced broadcasting on AsiaSat 3S, offering a mix of programming content including news and current affairs, entertainment, drama and music. Indiantelevision.com website, Mumbai

September 27

Hezbollah Al-Manar TV denies Egypt suspends broadcasts, closes office

The management of Al-Manar television has issued the following:

On 21 September, 2005, Beirut Al-Safir published a report entitled "Cairo threatens Al-Manar's broadcast" indicating that Egyptian authorities have issued a decision ordaining the suspension of Al-Manar channel's broadcasts and the closure of its offices in Cairo.

Within this context, Al-Manar is interested in clarifying the following:

It is not true that the Egyptian authorities have shut down the offices of Al-Manar in Cairo and issued a decision ordaining the suspension of Al-Manar's broadcasts. The matter does not exceed the framework of an administrative procedure against the Egyptian company that provides broadcast services to Al-Manar. Following contacts conducted by the station with the concerned parties, it became evident that this matter is within a technical context and has no other dimensions related to suspending the channel's transmission on NileSat as transmission on this satellite has not been suspended and is uninterrupted. Al-Safir website, Beirut

September 28
West Bank and Gaza: Islamic Jihad radio in Gaza Strip goes silent

Islamic Jihad's only radio station in the Gaza Strip went off the air yesterday fearing its studios would be targeted by Israel.
Salih al-Masri, director of Al-Quds Radio (102.7 [MHz] FM), said the decision to suspend the broadcasts followed Israeli charges that the station was inciting violence. He claimed that Palestinian journalists and media outlets were being targeted by Israel "as part of its comprehensive aggression" on the Palestinians. "Palestinian journalists are being targeted because they are exposing Israel's lies," he said. "[Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon's government is practising terror by killing the elderly and children and destroying various institutions."

Earlier in the day several media organizations evacuated their staff from a building in downtown Gaza City following rumours that Israeli helicopters were about to fire missiles at the studios, located in the same compound. More than a year ago Israeli helicopters fired a number of missiles toward the Hamas-run Al-Jil press office in the same building.
It was not clear when, if at all, the Islamic Jihad radio station would resume its broadcasts. Earlier this week the station interviewed many Islamic Jihad supporters in the Gaza Strip who called for stepping up the armed struggle against Israel. The interviews were conducted in the aftermath of the killing by the IDF of Muhammad Shaykh Khalil, commander of the armed wing of Islamic

September 28
Afghan paper suggests TV channel targeted due to criticism of judiciary

After Tolo TV broadcast a report about the inefficiency of the chief justice [Mawlawi Fazl Hadi Shinwari] and corruption in the judicial system, the Supreme Court authorities appeared on a news bulletin broadcast by the same TV channel. They seemed to be answering the questions raised by Tolo TV. I think the answers from the authorities not only failed to satisfy the audience but also revealed some other shortcomings of the Supreme Court as well.

After all this, councils of religious scholars from various provinces started propaganda against Tolo. The councils of religious scholars from Paktia and Herat claimed that Tolo programmes were un-Islamic and called for the TV channel to be closed down.

We do not want to discuss whether or not Tolo broadcasts really are against the basic tenets of our faith and culture, but we should look at why these councils are only targeting Tolo. If one takes a look at the broadcasts of other TV channels, it is clear that all these TV stations, including Tolo, broadcast almost the same kind of programmes. Kabul Weekly in Dari

September 29
Sudan: Government committed to upholding press freedom
Khartoum, 29 September: Vice-President Ali Uthman Muhammad Taha has affirmed the state's commitment to safeguard the rights and freedoms of the press.

Addressing celebrations on the occasion of the inauguration of the Journalists House at Mugran area in Khartoum Thursday [29 September], Taha announced a partnership between the state and the press to upgrade the journalism profession and supporting internal and external training projects for journalists as well as improving their work environment. He called on the journalists to work to achieve a satisfactory equation between rights and duties. Taha urged the press to stick to the prin Jihad in the southern Gaza Strip. The Jerusalem Post Web site

September 29
Egyptian minister: Parties to have equal TV coverage, moots new election channel

Cairo, 29 September: Anas al-Fiqi, the [Egyptian] information minister has stressed that all political parties will have the right to media coverage of their annual conferences in [TV] news bulletins and news programmes, in a similar way to the [ruling] National Democratic Party. In a statement made today, Al-Fiqi indicated that the media policies committee had been authorized to put forward a concept of the style of coverage that should be objective and free from exaggeration. He also stressed that certain declared standards should be available to achieve equality between the parties within the framework of the new method established by the media during the presidential elections campaign.

Regarding coverage of parliamentary elections in the news and the relevant media policy, Al-Fiqi asserted that a committee had been formed earlier to put together the standards of coverage of presidential elections, noting that this committee would continue working for the parliamentary elections. The information minister added that in view of the large number of candidates in the elections of the People's Assembly, a public [TV] channel could be established during the election campaign especially for this reason, and that this would allow equal time for the parties to show their election platforms. He added that the candidates would also have time to show their platforms on local [TV] channels.

Al-Fiqi explained that it had been decided to allow a number of representatives of NGOs concerned with monitoring the process of parliamentary elections, to join the monitoring and follow-up committee to recognize the efforts exerted and level of adherence to neutrality, equality and objectiveness. At the end of his statements, the minister asserted that the test of neutrality and objectiveness in the coming parliamentary elections would be more difficult than it was in the presidential elections because of the extension of the competition and the increase in the number of candidates, which would make the work of the monitoring and follow-up committee very important. MENA news agency website, Cairo ciples of objectivity, impartiality and accuracy. Suna news agency website, Khartoum

September 30
Indonesia/USA: News Corp to buy into Indonesian TV network
News Corp's Hong Kong-based satellite and cable operator Star TV will take a 20 per cent stake in the Indonesian network ANTV, the Japanese newspaper Mainichi Daily News reported on 30 September. News Corp and ANTV both declined to release financial details about the agreement, saying only that it was a "multimillion dollar deal".

The deal will give News Corp access to Indonesia's 220 million-strong population and "could reflect the company's strategic shift away from China, which up until recently has been the main focus of Star's Asian expansion," the report added.

Star will control 20 per cent of the company, the maximum a foreign firm can hold in local media companies according to Indonesian law, and Indonesian shareholders will hold the remaining 80 per cent stake. ANTV was launched on 1 January 1993 as a local television station in Lampung city in South Sumatra province. Later that same month the government licensed ANTV for nationwide broadcasting and the firm moved its headquarters to Jakarta, the Mainichi Daily News report recalled. It said Indonesia now had 11 TV national stations, and many provincial broadcasters. Mainichi Daily News website, Tokyo

October 1
Paper raps Sudanese national TV

The Sudanese national television gives substantive evidence every day that it operates its programmes from another planet several light years away from our peace hungry mother earth. The national TV seems unaware of the CPA [Comprehensive Peace Agreement] and the Government of National Unity [GNU].

Our national TV still lives in the recent past when the civil war in the Sudan was projected as between Islam and the infidels of southern Sudan.

With the CPA and formation of GNU, Sudanese people, in both north and south, have taken it for granted that such programmes would be the first to be swept under the carpet of disinformation and religious chauvinism. Sadly enough, the opposite is what is being cherished and implemented by our national TV.

The national TV by running "Fi Sahat al Fida" programme is covertly but suggestively telling the northern masses that the very killers of their children are now in the Republican Palace and in every ministry in Islam is not yet hoisted in the battlefields of sacrifice in southern Sudan.

The overarching national characteristics of our TV are invisible under the reign of the Government of National Unity. The national TV still runs its programmes and political panels under the umbrella of the National Salvation Revolution, and takes Sudan as being manned and masterminded by the "victorious" NCP leadership. It should stop disseminating hatred, intolerance, bigotry or anything suggestive of that to the Sudanese people.

Please, our national TV, wash your mouth and watch your steps. Khartoum Monitor Web site, Khartoum

October 3
Afghan media urged to broadcast religious programmes during Ramadan

In accordance with the instructions of President Hamed Karzai, a commission has been set up on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan. The commission is made up of Endowment and Islamic Affairs Minister Nematollah Shahrani, Acting Interior Minister Engineer Zarar Ahmad Moqbel and Governor of Kabul Province Haji Din Mohammad. The commission, which met under the chairmanship of Chief Justice Mawlawi Fazl Hadi Shinwari, made the following decisions:

1. The national radio and television to broadcast recitation of the 30 chapters of the holy Koran during the holy month of Ramadan. 2. Religious sermons on virtues of the holy month of Ramadan to be publicized through the mass media and by the mosque preachers and scholars. 3. The national and private television channels to strictly refrain from broadcasting immoral films and vulgar programmes. 4. All restaurants to stay closed during day time. 5. Koran recitation programmes to be broadcast through the mass media before Iftar [fast-breaking time]. 6. People who do not fast because of a religious excuse should avoid eating in the public. 7. The times of Sahar and Iftar [start and end of fasting day] to be announced through radio and television with the call for prayers. 8. Religious issues to be discussed and preached after the prayers in every mosque. 9. The police to ensure the security of the worshipers and mosques. 10. Those who break their fast without any justifiable excuse should be punished in accordance with the law.

The security officials to take note of the above points and take the necessary actions to implement them. Television Afghanistan, Kabul

October 3
Al-Arabiya TV calls for release of correspondent held by US forces in Iraq

Al-Arabiya Channel has issued a statement calling for the release of its correspondent Majid Hamid, who has been detained by the US forces for more than three weeks. Al-Arabiya denounced the position taken by the US authorities, which have so far not issued an official statement clarifying the reason for the arrest of colleague Majid and have not allowed him to get a legal representative. Al-Arabiya held the US authorities responsible for the security and safety of its employees in Iraq. Al-Arabiya TV, Dubai

October 3
Japan/Qatar: Internet tycoon to bring Al-Jazeera TV to Japan

Flamboyant Japanese internet tycoon turned politician Takafumi Horie has said he will bring Arab news broadcaster Al-Jazeera to Japan, hoping to provide a greater variety of views to the public.

The 32-year-old entrepreneur on Monday [3 October] said his firm, Livedoor, which offers a portal site much like Yahoo! along with other internet services, has signed a deal with Qatar-based Al-Jazeera to distribute its news online in Japanese. Horie, an unsuccessful candidate in last month's parliamentary election, wrote on his blog that he was trying to diversify Livedoor's news content.

"An advantage of internet-based news distribution is its ability to let users view and search a variety of news stories," Horie said. "In particular, international news may be influenced by the views of the countries in which the media are based. In this way, I believe distribution of Al-Jazeera reports is significant," he said. Horie ran for parliament backing the agenda of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, one of US President George Bush's closest allies. The Bush administration has often accused Al-Jazeera of bias.

Al-Jazeera is well-respected in the Arab world but has frequently been accused of bias by the region's governments over its coverage. Its offices in Baghdad and several other Arab countries have also been shut down.

Al-Jazeera gained prominence with exclusive coverage of the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, under its motto, "the opinion and the counter opinion". It also had its offices bombarded in Kabul and Baghdad, with fatalities in both attacks. In Baghdad a prominent correspondent, Tariq Ayub, was killed during the US-led invasion. Aljazeera.net Web site, Doha

October 3
PTV to take lead in launching DTH service

Islamabad, 3 October: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shaykh Rashid Ahmed on Monday [3 October] said that Pakistan Television would take lead in launching Direct-to-Home (DTH) service. Addressing a meeting at PTV headquarters here to review the progress on DTH project, Shaykh Rashid Ahmed said the work on the project needs to be completed at a pace so that it is available to the viewers at the earliest.

Secretary Information and Chairman PTV Shahid Rafi, Managing Director PTV Arshad Khan, Managing Director PTV Foundation Ahtar Wiqar Azeem and senior officers attended the meeting.

MD PTV Foundation gave detailed briefing about the project and said at initial stage a bouquet of 50 channels would be offered in DTH service. The size of the bouquet would be increased to 300 channels in due course, he added.
The meeting took various decisions and set time limit for various exercises to be carried out for finalisation of the project. The meeting also reviewed the overall progress of PTV. Associated Press of Pakistan news agency, Islamabad

October 5
Afghan daily urges year-round observation of Ramadan broadcast restrictions

The chapter of perseverance against hardships and overcoming your desires has commenced. In this holy month of blessing and human humility before the only God, every Muslim has the chance to review his deeds and to measure his candour, piety and virtue and then wait for his prayers to be answered and the blessing of the Creator, the merciful Creator whose doors of mercy and pardon are open now more than at any other time. The holy month of Ramadan requires of us self-control. It suggests that we should put ourselves in a condition of total virtue and avoid all manifestations of corruption, lust and other evildoings which are prohibited.

Let us now see what effect this holy month will have on the overall functioning of our media, especially the visual media. Some of the visual media, which did not refrain from broadcasting every kind of vulgar and corrupt phenomenon, calling it music and film, now have no choice other than to at least superficially observe some of these strictures and wait until this holy month ends before they can once again allow corruption and vulgarity to flourish.

Therefore, and in view of the need to fight all imported manifestations of corruption and vulgarity, which lead astray the young generation - and one of the goals of the month of Ramadan is to fight these manifestations - and in view of the danger of corruption and vulgarity, which threatens the national identity of society, we must pay attention and find out why the visual media is allowing the promotion of indecent and disgraceful phenomena. It seems that it is not enough to only refrain from broadcasting these vulgar and corrupt films and music during the holy month of Ramadan.

The media should review their activities in this sphere and provide those eager for music and films with quality programmes, which conform to our cultural and national values, so that our young people are not led astray by watching them. We hope that those in charge of the media will pay attention to the growing menace of these music videos and films, which go against our moral values and our familial and social traditions. They must conscientiously and responsibly provide the audience with proper entertainment programmes and not blindly follow the Western media in presenting disgusting and lustful phenomena, which have no message other than to encourage sexual promiscuity and no objective other than to lead astray the young generation.

We profoundly believe that an expert and responsible observation of this need at the beginning of the month of Ramadan, with the aim of following these values throughout the year, will in no way damage our national interests, will not damage the popularity of the media and will also satisfy their audience. Arman-e Melli, Kabul

October 8
Iraq: Talabani voices commitment to media freedom

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has reiterated his commitment to the freedom of the independent Iraqi media in Iraq and his rejection of any pressure exerted on the media to turn it into a tool in the hands of any political side. The president's statements came during his meeting with Sa'd al-Bazzaz, head of the Independent Iraqi Media Group, who presented the difficulties facing the independent Iraqi media and stressed the Iraqi journalists' adherence to their position in conveying the desires of the people and refusing to act as a mouthpiece for any political entity that seeks to control the will and desires of the people. Al-Sharqiyah, Baghdad

October 9
Iraqis divided over satellite channels
Foreign satellite broadcasts poses a problem that spark different reactions in Iraq. Iraqis surveyed by Al-Iraqiyah TV say they have become aware of the objectives of satellite channels, especially those with a political agenda.

Since the collapse of the former regime, Iraqis have enjoyed the freedom to view a plethora of satellite channels. Some of those have been fair in their coverage of events in Iraq but some have been trying to take advantage of the situation and seeking to influence Iraqis' thought. But now viewers have found the ideal channels that are worthy of being watched. Al-Iraqiyah TV, Baghdad

October 10
Joint body to discuss lifting ban on Indian TV in Pakistan

Islamabad, 4 October: India and Pakistan on Tuesday established a joint working group (JWG) to discuss lifting of ban on Indian television channels here and to liberalize visa procedures and travel restrictions faced by journalists from both the countries.

During the Joint Commission meeting held here, India proposed lifting of the ban on Indian TV channels in Pakistan as relations between both countries have improved in the wake of the peace process, official sources said. While India lifted the ban later, Pakistan continued it, they said. PTI news agency, New Delhi

October 10
New private Afghan TV channel launched in south, aims to avoid "controversy"

Kabul: Afghanistan's newly-established and increasingly popular Ariana Television (ATN), as part of its expansion plans, has launched transmissions in the southern city of Ghazni on Monday [10 October]. The private TV channel thus entered the sixth province since its inception just 47 days back, with ATN Director Ghulam Reza Zaki voicing satisfaction with their ability to reach such a large number of viewers.

"We launched our transmissions in Ghazni today after going on air in Kabul, Kandahar, Jalalabad, Mazar-i-Sharif and Herat. In the near future, we plan to expand our network to several other cities in the northern, central and southern parts of the country."
Because of the caution it exercises on sensitive issues, Zaki observed, ATN is steering clear of controversy and attracting a huge audience in a conservative country where the electronic media is a new phenomenon. Funded by Afghan trader Eng Ehsanullah Bayat, who also co-owns one of Afghanistan's mobile phone networks, ATN is watched in 75 Asian and African nations via satellite. Zaki revealed that they would soon launch an FM radio in major cities of the country with round the clock broadcasts. The Ariana Radio has already started experimental entertainment and music transmissions in Kabul, and plans to hit the airwaves with news, analyses and educational programmes in a month's time. Pajhwok Afghan News Web site, Kabul

October 12
Al-Arabiya TV airs clips denouncing Iraqi draft constitution
Dubai-based news channel Al-Arabiya TV on 10 and 11 October has been observed to carry promotions against the Iraqi draft constitution alongside the pro-referendum promotions which are currently being aired on Iraqi television channels.

The anti-constitution promotions carried on Al-Arabiya Television are sponsored by "The Loyalty for Iraq Grouping", as stated at the end of each promotion. Additionally, the promotions come in the form of interviews conducted with Iraqis of both genders, where polled citizens voice their denunciation of what they believe to be "sectarian" constitution.
It is worth noting that the promotions appear to be less well funded and less professional when compared to other productions that encourage public participation in the referendum. However, in their simple format, the statements featured in the anti-constitution promotions seem more genuine and less rehearsed. Al-Arabiya TV, Dubai

October 13
Text of Afghan Taleban fighters' letter seeking permission to kill journalists

Peshawar:Today, the mojahedin of the Taleban Islamic Emirate faxed an open letter to publications which was addressed to the head of the Taleban Islamic Emirate and the Taleban Supreme Council [Mullah Mohammad Omar]. Afghan Islamic Press also received a copy of this letter, with about 100 signatures, expressing anger at the arrest of the Taleban spokesman, Mofti Latifollah Hakimi. They asked the Taleban leadership to issue orders to kill all local and foreign journalists working for foreign media. Here is the open letter received by AIP.

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate!
An open letter to the head of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the Supreme Council.
Peace be upon you!

First of all we offer you our regards and we, the mojahedin from several provinces of Afghanistan, demand the following of you: The crusaders and their allies have been violating all human values and if they do not understand logic, one should talk to them through the barrel of the gun.

In their latest aggression they arrested Mr Latifollah Hakimi, the spokesman of the [Taleban] Islamic movement. Hakimi's job was to inform the world public and compatriots of the true news of the resistance against the crusaders and their barbarism in Afghanistan. He was arrested while hundreds of Afghan and foreign journalists are free. Day and night they produce propaganda to brainwash Afghans. They are committing a crime by seeking to portray the crusaders' cruelty and aggression as friendship. Therefore, we ask you to allow us to kill every Western media journalist and writer who opposes the Islamic Emirate [of Afghanistan] and announce this officially because, if they arrest our cultural affairs workers and want to silence our righteous voice, we too have the ability to silence their voice with the power of the gun. God willing, we urge all foreign and local people working for the Western media to use their influence to free Mr Ustad Yaser and Mr Latifollah Hakimi from the claws of their masters immediately.

Leaders of the Islamic Emirate, our patience is exhausted and we resolutely demand that we should be given permission to kill all domestic and foreign workers of the Western media. God willing, we will not leave them in peace anywhere. We hope you will consider our request as soon as possible and officially announce your decision to us. Regards, the mojahedin of the Islamic Emirate [Signatures reproduced beneath the text of the letter] Afghan Islamic Press news agency, Peshawar

October 14
Al-Jazeera TV employees reportedly banned from entering Saudi Arabia

In a statement released yesterday, the Arab Committee for the Defense of Journalists declared that journalists and employees working for the Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel had been banned from entering Saudi Arabia as the Saudi authorities ban this channel from operating on its territory. The committee, which is an NGO founded in February 2004, said that the Saudi embassy in Doha "has taken a strict decision denying all those who work for Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel visas to perform the rites of pilgrimage or transit visas". This decision applies to 1,250 employees "who have also been denied travel by land across Saudi territory to their countries during summer vacations", the statement said.

The committee, which said that it had received complaints from journalist and workers in the Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel, said the decision "runs counter to all international laws, norms, human rights and even the goals of the Islamic shari'ah itself". The committee warned that it would lodge a complaint with the UN Human Rights Standing Committee.

In reply to a question by AFP, the Saudi charge d'affaires in Doha, Ali al-Qazzaz, rejected these accusations, saying: "This is not true." He however added: "We have certain arrangements for certain groups to get visas, including media people." He stressed that the matter is "one of regulations and has nothing to do with a decision banning entry to anyone." Yusuf al-Shuli, deputy chief of the Arab Committee for the Defense of Journalists, said this organization, which is registered in Paris and Geneva, has 1,806 members. Al-Sharq website, Doha

October 14
Islamic Jihad denounces "US-Zionist campaign" for shutting down Web site

The media office of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine issued a statement on the US-Zionist campaign, which led to shutting down the website of Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Dr Ramadan Abdallah Shallah.

The statement said: "In the framework of the US-Zionist campaign launched against the Palestinian resistance movements, especially the Islamic Jihad, and after a series of hacking operations that resulted in shutting down a number of the movement's websites over the past years more than once and in more than one country, the US Company HostDime - as a result of a US-Zionist campaign that exercised pressure on it - shut down the website of Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Dr Ramadan Abdallah Shallah under the pretext that the website is promoting hatred against Israel."

The statement added: "The website www.rabdullah.net includes the biography of the secretary- general, his lectures, articles, research papers and press interviews, which all defend the Palestinian and the Islamic right to resist the Zionist occupation."

The statement concluded: "The media office of the Islamic Jihad Movement frowns on and denounces such acts, in addition to a series of similar acts of the Hagana Organization and other Zionist extremists that targeted the movement's websites earlier and are currently striving to target them. Through such acts, they seek ways to silence a resistant Palestinian voice that supports mujahidin who robbed the sleep of the Zionist occupation army. We affirm that this act will not discourage us from continuing to disclose the available truth even if its alleged advocates can not stand it." Islamic Jihad Movement Web site

October 18
Sudan's economic achievements to feature in new TV documentary

CNBC Arabic will start transmitting documentary programs on Sudan focusing on economic development achieved during the last decade. The program should be transmitted on weekly basis for two months starting Thursday [20 October].

It is worth noting that the CNBC team visited Sudan early last July and conducted interviews with ministers and experts in the finance, investment, oil and agricultural sectors and took pictures of a number of development facilities. The program will be transmitted at 10.15 p.m. Sudan local time. Sudanese media consulate in Dubai and the public relation office in the Ministry of Finance is sponsoring the CNBC mission to Khartoum. Sudanese Media Centre website, Khartoum

October 25
Egypt/Saudi Arabia: New Islamic satellite channel for non-Arabic speakers

An authoritative Saudi source has announced that a new Islamic satellite channel aimed at non-Arabic speakers has been launched at a preliminary cost of 50m riyals [13.3m dollars] and said the channel would be based in Cairo.
The source said the first introductory reception of Al-Huda [right path] satellite channel was held in holy Mecca on Sunday night [23 October] in the presence of a group of ulema led by Shaykh Abdallah Bin-Sulayman al-Mani, member of the Senior Ulema Council, and Dr Salman Bin-Fahd al-Awdah, the well-known preacher and supervisor of the Islam Today website. He pointed out that the channel would avoid doctrinal disagreements.

Shaykh Hamad al-Ghammas, chairman of the new channel's board of directors, said the channel is seeking to carry out the mission for which it was established, which is to seek to guide the viewer to a centrist course through constructive television material and is targeting in its transmissions two groups: non-Arabic speaking Muslims and non-Muslims who speak Arabic all over the world. It will broadcast in three languages: English, French and Spanish.

Al-Ghammas pointed out that Al-Huda channel aims to acquaint the viewer with the Muslim world and its cultures, legacies, peoples and historic depth, present the Islamic values and explain their role in improving the performance of societies, highlight Islam's respect for women, disprove many of the suspicions that are raised against Islam, instruct the Muslim minorities about the way of coexisting with non-Muslims, plant the virtuous values of Islam, and present the documented shari'ah fatwas to the viewers.

He added that the channel is at present broadcasting in English round the clock on the Nilesat satellite [Nilesat 101 at 7 degrees west] and includes varied programmes on teaching the Holy Koran, direct fatwas, and recital of the Koran by well-known readers accompanied by a translation of its meaning. The channel will also carry live relay of al-tarawih [prayers held after breaking the fast during Ramadan] from the Holy Mosque and the Prophet's Mosque and they too are accompanied by a translation of the Holy Koran. The channel's plans include an expansion of documentaries and children and youth programmes.

He went on to say that the channel focuses in its programmes on a positive media rhetoric and takes into account the variety of the races and styles of those who present them for the purpose of highlighting the universality of Islam and that it is not restricted to a specific race. It also avoids doctrinal differences and fanaticism for a view or doctrine. Al-Quds al-Arabi, London

October 28
Saudi Arabia: Chairman on goal of new English-language Islamic channel

Shaykh Hamad Bin-Muhammad al-Ghammas, chairman of the board of directors of the Al-Huda [right path] satellite channel, has announced the launching of the channel at a ceremony at one of the holiest places on earth attended by a group of scholars, ministers and specialists during the blessed month of Ramadan.

Shaykh Al-Ghammas noted the importance of the media in spreading principles, cultures and values among people. He also underlined the importance pinned on investors and media personnel in this great country, the birthplace of the immortal message of Islam, to take the initiative of establishing media forums that are characterized by professionalism, moderation and a positive attitude to explain the pure and shining image of Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims.

Speaking to Al-Watan, Shaykh Al-Ghammas said that from this premise Al-Huda satellite channel has been launched to achieve a set of goals; most importantly, to offer certified Shari'ah rulings to viewers, explain the principles of the centrality of Islam, fight the destructive ideology, highlight the fact that Islam honours women and their role in the society, present and debate the suspicions raised about Islam in a positive manner, guide Muslim minorities on coexistence in their societies, instil noble moral values in the hearts of children in a creative manner, introduce the viewers to the Islamic world, its cultures, legacy, people and rich history, present the sublime Islamic values and how they could upgrade public performance, and discuss other important values and concepts to guide Muslims to their religion, highlight the bright image of Islam, and its moderate attitude towards non-Muslims.
Al-Huda currently broadcasts in English on Nilesat (FEC: ¾ Frequency 11474, Polarization: Vertical, Symbol Rate: 27500). The channel will expand its transmission on another satellite to reach half the globe, according to Shaykh Al-Ghammas, who pointed out that the channel's capital exceeds 50m Saudi riyals [13m dollars]. He added: The channel's programmes cater to various segments of society, including men, women, children and youths, which explains the variety of the programming offered to these groups.

The channel currently broadcasts a host of various programmes, such as Koranic recitation, live fatwas [Islamic edicts], family programmes, Koranic recitation accompanied by translation of the meaning, and live coverage of Al-Tarawih prayers from the Mecca and Medina holy shrines accompanied by live translation of the meaning of the Holy Koran.

Soon, God willing, the Al-Huda channel will broadcast documentaries and programmes dedicated to children, women and youths in languages other than English and with a bigger footprint. Al-Ghammas disclosed to Al-Watan that Al-Huda is one of a group of multilingual channels. It is now transmitting in English but, God willing, French and Spanish service will follow, he added. Source: Al-Watan website, Abha, in Arabic 28 Oct 05

October 30
Kuwaiti government discusses riots against private TV station
Kuwait, 30 October: The cabinet discussed Sunday [30 October] a report presented by First Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Shaykh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah on the riots that occurred last Thursday against the building of Al-Ra'i satellite station in Salmiyah, which was carried out by a "bunch of law-violators". Shaykh Nawaf highlighted the measures taken by the ministry to control such acts and prevent future re-occurrence.

The cabinet, chaired by HH the Prime Minister Shaykh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, was briefed on the circumstances that led to this incident and the material damages caused. The cabinet affirmed that legal measures have been taken against all those involved in the riots as it is considered a violation of the law.
It called on the concerned security bodies to take all measures against such acts that aim at causing disorder, security instability and violation of the law, affirming the importance of enforcing the law. Kuna news agency website, Kuwait

October 31
Iraqi Kurdish TV station to start test satellite broadcast 5 Dec

A contract to change the [Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, PUK-run] Baghdad-based terrestrial channel, Al-Hurriyah TV, to a satellite station has been signed. The station is targeting Arab audiences.

The contract was signed between the head of the [PUK] central media office, comrade Azad Jundiyani, and Mr Hiwa Fariq, the representative of Megast [as transliterated] company which specializes in selling satellite and broadcast equipment. The station is expected to begin its test transmission on 5 December 2005. Source: Kurdistani Nuwe, Sulaymaniyah, in Sorani Kurdish 31 Oct 05

October 31
Iraq: PUK's Al-Hurriyah TV to test via satellite

A contract to change the [Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, PUK-run] Baghdad-based terrestrial channel, Al-Hurriyah TV, to a satellite station has been signed. The station targets Arab audiences. The contract was signed between the head of the [PUK] central media office, comrade Azad Jundiyani, and Mr Hiwa Fariq, the representative of Megast [as transliterated] company, which specializes in selling satellite and broadcast equipment. The station is expected to begin its test transmission on 5 December 2005. Source: Kurdistani Nuwe, Sulaymaniyah

October 31
Algeria: Editorial slams setting up of five new state TV channels

The director-general of the Algerian National Television System [ENTV] has just announced the establishment of five "thematic" channels, which would bring the number of public channels up to eight. Since the sponsorship on which Hamraoui Habib Chawki is counting is perforce limited, it will be up to the public treasury and the taxpayer to provide most of the financing. So there will be billions of dinars to be spent by the state for projects whose viability is risky, owing to the extreme weakness in domestic production, which does not even satisfy the needs of the three existing channels - Algerian TV, Canal Algerie and A3, which resemble one another like "three" drops of water, practically broadcasting the same few programmes, the weakness of whose content is glaring, with a few exceptions. Source: El Watan website, Algiers

November 1
Bosnian electronic media announce boycott of government

[Reporter] The decision of the [Bosnian] Council of Ministers to transfer over 1.150 million convertible marks of resources of the Communications Regulatory Agency [CRA] to the Public Broadcasting Service of Bosnia-Herzegovina is illegitimate and thus unsustainable, the Bosnian Association of Electronic Media has announced. Source: Independent TV Hayat, Sarajevo

November 1
Good future for BBC Arabic TV if professionalism, objectivity kept - Iraqi paper

Even after the sail of British barges from the Persian Gulf following the handover of the keys to the Suez Canal by Britain that marked the fading of the British Empire, the Arabic language BBC radio has continued playing the British monarchy anthem until now. It has been the most important media outlet for Arab listeners for several decades. However, since the second Gulf War and the defeat and retreat of Saddam's forces from Kuwait, the popularity of the BBC Arabic radio service in the Arab world has begun to fade, while the star of satellite television channels, started by CNN, began to shine.

Although it is the wealthiest media organization in the world, apart from a single television channel in the Arabic language that did not last long, surprisingly, the British Broadcasting Corporation did not pay attention to the Arab world. A decade later, London surrendered and decided to launch a new satellite television channel, "Here Is London", in the Arab world's skies.

The pressing question now is whether the new BBC satellite television channel will have a better chance than its predecessor and some other satellite television channels. The launch of such a satellite channel is a political decision in the first place, as is the case with the BBC World Service's other radio and television broadcasts and services, which is one of the most expensive and important media networks in the world. This is because the BBC is a semi-independent state institution and is basically funded by the British citizens who have to pay a compulsory annual license fee for their television sets.

Moreover, this old taxation system to fund government projects is currently facing many challenges by the British people, who regard the fee as unjustifiable because they are deprived of the right to choose, especially with the growing number of private independent television channels. While television tax payers are not concerned with politics, the British government, especially during Prime Minister Tony Blair's term in office, believes exactly the opposite. The British government believes that without media guidance, the Middle East region and Arabs in particular, form a dangerous source of unrest in the world and in the UK, where terrorists from Middle East are commonly hanging around in the streets.

Media propaganda is part of the precautionary war against terrorism. Al-Qa'idah has its programmes, DVDs and websites. Al-Qa'idah's media outlets broadcast its provocative programmes to Muslims and others in several languages, including English, promoting an endless war.

The BBC World Service broadcast has always been characterized by its high professionalism, superb quality of programmes and objectivity, away from direct propaganda and demagoguery. If the new satellite television channel chooses to march along the same path, I do not think that it will face any difficulty in restoring the BBC's old esteemed status in a region that is full of events. The BBC Arabic radio has an impeccable reputation and history and has played an important role in confronting false propaganda by Arab regimes during previous disasters in the region, where it acted as a political reference and source of information. Although the political arena now is different from what it was in the past, impassioned media stations can still find a place in the region which truly needs great media sanatoriums to cleanse it from the residuals of everlasting uproars. Source: Al-Dustur, Baghdad

November 2
Iranian radio, TV chief denounces West's "propaganda commotion"

Iranian TV news channel, starting at 0748 gmt, carried a live relay of a speech (in progress) by Ezzatollah Zarghami, the head of the Iranian broadcasting organization, addressing the participants of the "Anti-Global Arrogance Day" rally outside the former US embassy in Tehran.

Zarghami's speech was mainly about the circumstances during the revolutionary days in Iran that led up to the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran on 4 November 1979 (Zarghami was one of the students himself) and about the historical "injustices" perpetrated by the US, Britain and Israel, including the killing of Red Indians by American settlers.

At 0805 gmt, Zarghami said: "In circumstances in which hundreds of media stations are active against Muslims, spread rumours and speak about changing the regime of the Islamic republic, see how, when the Islamic republic makes the slightest move, they act in such a terrorist-like way. [Zarghami was speaking earlier in his speech about Western "media terrorism."] What was Sahar satellite station, which belongs to the Islamic republic, saying at an international level for them to force its closure? The station was defending the rights of the deprived and oppressed people of Palestine. It showed the Zionists' crimes. But, without issuing any ultimatum, without any setting of the background, they announced that the station had to be halted. And, with the dominance that they have over satellite stations and the world management, they did it [acted against the station].

"And I think that this is a very good opportunity for our honourable government to understand the importance and sensitivity of the media war today and, by establishing a media base and allocating the necessary funds, to provide an opportunity for the Islamic republic to have its own independent satellite, to have numerous stations, to have its own independent, English-language news station, so that today, when our president says a word, a phrase, which represents the phrase of this great, present-on-the-scene nation and is a recollection of His Eminence the Imam's [Khomeyni's] phrases, they cannot carry out such an extensive propaganda commotion at an international level with their media, with some people - a strange crowd - at home picking up their material and imagining that something new has occurred. No, this is the same old crushing revolutionary movement of this big, Islamic country which is courageously standing up to America today and, in the words of Reagan, who had nothing to say after those events in the early days of the revolution other than to confess that, Today, Iran has humiliated us.

"What the Islamic republic is doing today and this just word, which has been recognized throughout the world today - with all the world's Muslims being inclined towards it - it is natural that this cannot be acceptable to them [the West]. Hence, to the extent that they are able, they do their utmost using this media terrorism dimension." Source: Islamic Republic of Iran News Network, Tehran

November 2
Morocco: King Mohammed VI launches TV channel dedicated to Islam

Rabat, 2 November: King Mohammed VI, Commander of the Faithful, launched here Wednesday [2 November] Mohammed VI channel for Holy Koran Assadissa.

Created in conjunction between the Ministry of Habous [religious endowments] and Islamic Affairs, Ministry of Communication and the National Company of Radio and Television (SNRT), the channel will air programmes dedicated to Koran lecture and interpretation, predication and Hadith [stories about the life of Prophet Muhammad], in addition to producing debates in favour of youth with the participation of renowned ulema (scholars) on various issues. The channel will also produce programmes in Amazigh [Berber] and French languages to enlarge the channel audience. Source: MAP news agency

November 3
Malaysian minister: Purchase of NTV7 by media group "purely" business deal

Kuala Lumpur, 3 November: Media Prima Bhd's acquisition of Natseven TV Sdn Bhd, which owns and operates NTV7, is a normal business deal, Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik said Thursday [3 November].

"It's purely a business deal, that's all," he quipped when reporters asked him on the purchase at the joint Hari Raya ['Id al-Fitr] open house hosted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his Muslim cabinet ministers at Putra World Trade Centre. Dr Lim declined to elaborate. Source: Bernama news agency website, Kuala Lumpur

November 3
"Iraqi resistance" publishes newspaper - Jordanian report

The first issue of the newspaper Sawt al-Haqq [Voice of the Truth], the voice of the Iraqi resistance with all its trends, has been distributed in Baghdad and various Iraqi cities. The proprietor is the National Front for the Liberation of Iraq and the chief editor is Dr Musa al-Husayni. The paper contains eight pages.

The front page features the main banner headline, which reads "The Iraqi resistance is the sole legitimate representative of the Iraqi people"; an editorial entitled "Free Iraq...legitimate right," which is signed by the front's leadership; and a host of resistance news. The first issue congratulated Iraqis on the occasion of Id al-Fitr. Source: Al-Arab al-Yawm, Amman

November 4
Authorities ban live TV broadcasts from Azerbaijan

Baku, 4 November: All foreign TV channels which have arrived in Azerbaijan to cover the forthcoming parliamentary election cannot send live video reports from Azerbaijan. The reason is the reluctance of the Azerbaijani authorities to provide the TV channels with the necessary technical equipment for this. Furthermore, the authorities have not allowed satellite equipment needed for live reports to be brought into the country. They have taken satellite dishes from Russia's NTV and RTR.

Three days ago, a bus carrying satellite equipment owned by Turkey's Ihlas agency miraculously "appeared" in Azerbaijan. But the authorities prohibited their work and demanded that they leave the country. Commenting on this, Nusiravan Maharramli, head of the national TV and radio council, said the Azerbaijani authorities should "set" the rules for live broadcasts from Azerbaijan.

So the authorities will have an opportunity to regulate reports sent from here. Currently all TV channels are obliged to send regular reports via the Mir TV channel, which reduces their quickness and substantially restricts the capabilities of journalists. In this manner, the authorities will take every measure the day before the parliamentary election to restrict the spread of information that does not satisfy their interests. Source: Turan news agency, Baku

November 5
Iran press: Broadcasting chief accuses USA of "media-terrorism"

Politics Desk: Contrary to the established practice in the previous years, and due to the concurrence of 13th Aban [4 November] anniversary with the Id al-Fitr, this year the annual anti-American demonstrations outside the former embassy of that country in Tehran were held on Wednesday last week [2 November]. Nonetheless, following the tradition of previous years, the demonstrators began their action with setting the flags of Britain and America on fire and carrying banners and placards, with slogans such as "death to Israel", and "death to America". These demonstrations were attended by a number of members of the student Basij units, the Islamic Society of [University] Students, the Union of the Islamic Societies of Independent Students, and the Shiraz tendency of the Office for Fostering Unity. However, the absence of famous Government figures in the demonstrations was noticeable, and in fact apart from Ezzatollah Zarghami, the head of the Voice and Vision Organisation, there were no other prominent state officials among the demonstrators. In spite of this, however, in line with the established tradition in such gatherings, the representatives of the participating groups and organisations issued a resolution and declared that the student movement still continued to consider America as the enemy of the free nations of the world.

Furthermore, the signatories of the said resolution defended the stance of the President on the regime of Israel, and described that stance as a sacred aspiration, and at the same time, they condemned the move by Israel to label that stance as terrorism. After reading out the resolution by the student organisations, Zarghami delivered a speech and said the policies of the Provisional Government [of Engineer Mehdi Bazargan] on 13 Aban 1358 [4 November 1979] were in line and agreement with the objectives of the Americans. Referring to the recent interview given by Musavi Kho'iniha about those events, Zarghami said: His remarks in fact confirmed the fact that the objectives of the Provisional Government were in clear contradiction of the guidelines and instructions of His Holiness the Imam [Khomeyni] - may he be admitted to God's Paradise.
In addition, Zarghami referred to the new methods of America's fight against countries such as Iran, and explained that at the present juncture, America was the centre of terrorism, biotechnology [as written] and media-terrorism [word in English in the original] in the world. He went on to say: At a time when their media organs are engaged in intense propaganda against the Muslims, the reception of programmes of the Sahar TV network, which is affiliated to the Islamic Republic of Iran, is disrupted merely because of its defence of the people of Palestine.

In conclusion to his remarks, the head of the Voice and Vision Organisation emphasised that the propaganda of the West against the Islamic Republic of Iran would prove fruitless, and added: Steadfastness, together economic stability and calm will only be achieved by resistance and resilience in the face of Global Arrogance.

November 6
Turkey: Minister attacks Denmark's position over Kurdish TV

[Presenter] Justice Minister Cemil Cicek reacted strongly to Denmark's statement that they are waiting for information from Turkey over Roj TV, which is engaged in pro-PKK broadcasts. Declaring that the documents on Roj TV have been submitted to Denmark numerous times, Cicek warned that no-one should play the three monkeys. Cicek also criticized writer Orhan Pamuk, without naming him openly, against whom a lawsuit had been filed. Source: NTV television, Istanbul

November 7
Iraq: New independent news agency starts operations

A new news agency, called the National Iraqi News Agency (NINA) [Arabic: al-wikalah al-wataniyah al-iraqiyah li al-anba], began transmission yesterday in Baghdad.

An authoritative official in the agency stressed that it is independent "and has no link with the government and is not an extension of the government's Iraqi News Agency (INA)", which was established in 1959 and collapsed after the downfall of Saddam Husayn in April 2003.

The source added that the agency "will not be a tool for inciting violence and will avoid everything that creates hatred between the sons of the people and definitely does not represent any tendency, party, ideology or political message. As it does not have any links with any official or unofficial party, it will be self-financing to ensure its independence and it does not rely on any foreign financing sources." Source: Al-Sharq al-Awsat Web site, London

November 7
Qatar: Al-Jazeera plans to set up opinion poll centre

Doha: Al-Jazeera has plans to soon set up a centre that would conduct research and opinion polls on issues of global and regional significance, chairman Shaykh Hamad bin-Thamir Al Thani said yesterday.

He was speaking at the ninth anniversary celebrations of Al-Jazeera channel at a function here. Shaykh Hamad bin-Thamir reiterated that Al-Jazeera English channel was all set to be launched in the first quarter of next year. The channel, he recalled, had made progress since launch in November 1996 and today ranked fifth among the international channels in the world in terms of reach and extensive coverage.

"It is a great achievement for a channel that was set up only nine years ago." The chairman also recalled on the occasion the sacrifices of some scribes who lost their lives covering events for Al-Jazeera and those who were facing prison terms for the cause of press freedom such as Taysir Alluni and lensman Sami al-Haj. Source: The Peninsula Web site, Doha

November 8
Turkey: Kurdish TV says it abides by Danish, EU principles

Roj TV, the voice of peace, freedom, and the brotherhood of peoples, has issued a statement in response to the Turkish state's efforts to have it closed down. In its statement, Roj TV says that contrary to allegations, it broadcasts in line with EU broadcasting principles. It calls on the Kurdish people and the public opinion to be sensitive in connection with the pressures.
Roj TV says that ever since it received a Danish licence to broadcast on 19 December 2003, it has been abiding by the Danish and EU broadcasting principles. It recalls that the Turkish state has been attacking it systematically from day one, and that a new wave of attacks has been started in recent days. We had to inform our millions of viewers and the public opinion about this state terrorism, Roj TV says, adding that the current Turkish policy on education, culture, and the media is based on a single nation, single language, and single religion. All institutions, planning, communications, and policies are organized on the basis of this official ideology, the statement says, and the Turkish Constitution and the Turkish Penal Code prevent the voicing of differences.

The statement then says: The European Court of Human Rights has hundreds of decisions that prove how Turkey punishes ideas that are not in line with the state's official ideology. The Radio and Television High Council has not yet granted private television channels and radio stations the right to broadcast in Kurdish. Media organs that broadcast in Kurdish are put on trial and punished. Turkey has dared export its bans and restrictions to Europe even though it is constantly cautioned by the EU in connection with this issue.

Roj TV concludes its statement by calling on Roj TV viewers and international free media organizations to be sensitive in connection with the dirty moves of the Turkish state. Source: Roj TV, Copenhagen, in Turkish

November 9
Two killed in attack on Iraqi Kurdish TV - Egyptian agency

Arbil, Iraq, 9 November: A roadside bomb went off on Wednesday [9 November] when an Iraqi police patrol was passing by in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk injuring three policemen. Meanwhile, an unidentified group shot dead a Kurdish businessman in Al-Quriyah neighbourhood [in Kirkuk] and fled the scene. A bomb planted near the premises of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan TV station exploded, killing two guards and causing material damage to the building. Source: MENA news agency, Cairo

November 10
Montenegrin experts slam new US-funded media strategy

Excerpt from report by J.R. entitled "Worthless text that costs 300,000 euros" published by the Montenegrin newspaper Dan on 10 November.

The draft of the strategy for the development of electronic communications over the next 10 years, which will be publicly discussed until 18 November, would not have been worth any level of attention whatsoever had 300,000 euros not been invested in it. This is what the council of the Agency for Telecommunications said yesterday after discussing this paper. Council chairman Ljubisa Stankovic says that he never heard anybody say a positive word about this document. He expects that the work on a new plan of development of telecommunications and radio broadcasting in Montenegro will begin as soon as possible.

"The strategy fails to describe the current situation and the technical context and there are a few inaccurate data inputs, therefore this text cannot serve as a foundation for the further. Source: Dan, Podgorica

November 11
USA: Broadcast officials defend US-funded Arab television

US broadcast officials have defended the American-funded Arab satellite television station, Al-Hurra, against allegations of mismanagement. A House subcommittee held a hearing looking into the charges, and the impact the station is having in the Muslim world.

Al-Hurra television broadcasts in 22 countries in the Muslim world, and is a key part of an overall US government public diplomacy strategy aimed at counteracting the influence of Al-Jazeera television.

The State Department recently confirmed that its inspector-general is conducting an audit of Al-Hurra, which officials have described as routine.

However, the subcommittee on oversight and investigations of the House International Relations Committee called a hearing in response to complaints from former employees about alleged financial improprieties and hiring practices.
These involve issues of outside services contracted by the station, specifically to Associated Press Television, and a Beirut-based company Quantum Communications. Source: Dani, Sarajevo

November 12
Azeri opposition wants airtime on Public TV

Baku, 12 November: Opposition leaders have appealed to Cahangir Mammadli, head of the Public TV Broadcasting Council, and Public TV executive director Ismayil Omarov, urging them to observe the principles of public broadcasting and allocate airtime to all political parties of the country.
Five days after the [6 November] parliamentary election, Public TV has not yet presented the views of opposition leaders on the election, they said, adding that Public TV did not even cover the opposition rally held on 9 November. "This is against the law 'On Public TV broadcasting' and the philosophy of public broadcasting, which should present different views and positions on issues of public importance to the TV audience. It should also ensure freedom of speech and pluralism," they said.

The opposition leaders called on the Public TV management to change their position and give the Azadliq [Freedom] and the National Unity blocs access to airtime. The appeal was signed by the leaders of the Musavat Party, the People's Front of Azerbaijan Party, the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan and the National Unity Movement. Source: Turan news

November 12
Pakistan/USA: VOA to beam daily TV programme to Pakistan

Washington: Voice of America (VOA) is to begin telecasting through a Pakistani commercial channel a 30-minute television programme in Urdu from 14 November.

Called "Beyond the Headlines", the programme will be aired on Geo TV at 7.30 p.m, Monday through Friday, as well as on selected international satellites, including AsiaSat and IOR. Source: Daily Times website, Lahore

November 14
Iraqi TV reacts to Sunni scholars' statement on terror "confessions" and imams

AMS statement No 181, dated 8 November 2005, states that "the occupation satellite channel" falsely accused "a virtuous group of imams and preachers of planning and instigating the killing of this and that person". The statement adds that Al-Iraqiyah "insolently slanders the symbols of the nation" and "tries to tarnish the reputation of dignified imams". The statement accuses Al-Iraqiyah of having "a clear goal, which is harming religious symbols and preventing mosques from playing their role in reform to make way for the occupier to spread corruption in the land". The AMS statement concludes by calling on "all religious authorities and scholars to adopt a decisive stand against these violations."

Al-Iraqiyah news presenter says: "Brig-Gen Basim al-Gharrawi, commander of the Al-Burkan [volcano] Brigades of the Interior Ministry, has called on all the mosque imams whose names were mentioned in the terrorists' confessions broadcast by Al-Iraqiyah channel to give their legal statements and face the witnesses and those legally convicted. It is worth noting that the AMS reprehended Al-Iraqiyah for showing these confessions."

Following this, an announcer-read report over video shows the AMS statement and footage from the Terrorism in the Hand of Justice programme. The announcer says: "A statement was posted by the AMS reprehending Al-Iraqiyah Television for showing terrorists' confessions within its programme Terrorism in the Hand of Justice. The terrorists stated that a number of mosque imams are linked to the criminal operations in the areas of Al-Amiriyah and Al-Ghazaliyah."

Describing the allegations against the imams as "serious and terrible", Brig-Gen Al-Gharrawi says that the police forces carried out operations in Al-Amiriyah and Al-Ghazaliyah. Al-Gharrawi adds: "I am ready to receive anyone from the AMS who wants to confront me regarding this issue and I will conduct a free dialogue with him. I am also ready to bring those who confessed against the imams and let them confront those imams with their confessions.". Source: Al-Iraqiyah TV, Baghdad

November 14
Pakistan: CNBC business channel starts operations

Islamabad, 14 November: CNBC channel started operating in Pakistan on Monday [14 November], the country chairman of the network, Zafar Siddique, said.

He told a news conference that three bureaus of the CNBC in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi would provide roundups about current events besides giving financial updates to the viewers round the clock. These bureau offices would have live connectivity with other bureau offices of the CNBC in the world from Monday to Friday every week, he said. Source: Associated Press of Pakistan news agency, Islamabad

November 15
Authorities in western Afghanistan confirm licence for new TV station

Herat, 15 November: A private television channel, Saqi [ an old Persian poetic word for a cupbearer], is scheduled to formally launch its transmissions in the western Herat Province in the next one-and-a-half months, officials said on Tuesday [15 November]. Source: Pajhwok Afghan News Web site, Kabul

November 15
Pakistan: BBC rebroadcasters closed down

Karachi, 14 November: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority [PEMRA] on Monday evening [14 November] raided a private FM radio station on Sharea Faisal and closed its transmission for alleged violation of PEMRA by-laws. PEMRA officials assisted by the local police raided the FM 103 radio station and seized its transponders, antennas and other broadcast equipment.

A representative of the radio station said PEMRA officials with police raided the station and misbehaved with the staff. The police officials used abusive language and seized the equipment, forcing the FM 103 to close down its broadcast. He said PEMRA officials had alleged that the radio station had provided its medium to relay the broadcast of a foreign-based radio channel. Source: Dawn website, Karachi

November 15
Iran: Culture minister says press freedom "basis" of government policy

Tehran, 15 November-Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Mohammad Hoseyn Saffar-Harandi said support for press freedom and respect for people's rights to have access to free flow of information are the basis of current policies.

Speaking during the 19th nationwide seminar of Friday prayers leaders on Tuesday [15 November], Saffar-Harandi added that press freedoms might face some restrictions in line with divine laws and in defence of public rights.

"The press is free to criticize those at the highest echelons of the officialdom and though such criticisms might be unfair, they will be tolerated," ISNA quoted him as saying. "What we cannot tolerate is offending the sanctities." Source: Iran Daily Web site, Tehran

November 16
Iran to launch five satellites by the end of Fourth Plan - agency
Talking to reporters on the threshold of World Space Week to be held from 28 Aban to 4 Azar [19-25 November], head of the Space Organization Ahmad Talebzadeh has said: During the fourth economic development plan, five satellites, including Mesbah, Zohreh and Sina satellites, will be launched into orbit. He added: In addition to these satellites, three small satellites would also be launched into orbit. Source: Fars News Agency website, Tehran

November 16
Al-Jazeera TV reports US media "blackout" on white phosphorus issue in Iraq

The use of white phosphorus in Iraq by US troops during the assault on Al-Fallujah in 2004 and the reaction of US media and officials to the reporting, originally by an Italian TV channel, was the subject of news reports and interviews by Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite TV on 16 November.

The TV began its reporting with the following announcer-read report: "The Pentagon has admitted that the US army used white phosphorus during the military operations in Al-Fallujah in November 2004. A Pentagon spokesman said that the US army used white phosphorus against fighters in the city, denying that it was used against civilians. We would like to draw to your attention that the report contains disturbing images."

This was followed by a video report by Al-Jazeera correspondent Fatimah al-Turayki on the Italian Rai news channel's documentary entitled "Al-Fallujah, the hidden massacre". She says: "This [video shows images of burnt bodies] took place in Iraq, not Vietnam, one year ago, but the world knew about it only a week ago when Italian Rai news channel aired its documentary entitled "Al-Fallujah, the hidden massacre", in which it said that the Americans used internationally-banned weapons and chemical weapons in Al-Fallujah."

She added: "The US army said after the screening of the film that it had used white phosphorus in Al-Fallujah to illuminate the enemy's locations at night, as it put it. What is new now is the Pentagon's admission that white phosphorus was used against the enemies themselves, not only to illuminate their locations. The Pentagon denied that it was used against civilians. The Italian film showed that children and women were among the victims of this weapon. The film also showed a former US soldier in Iraq testifying that he was instructed to remain cautious during the Al-Fallujah battles because white phosphorus would be used in these battles."

Al-Jazeera then interviewed Muhammad al-Alami, Al-Jazeera correspondent in Washington, to report on US reaction to the Pentagon's admission that the US army used white phosphorus in Al-Fallujah. Al-Alami said: "US media outlets did not pay much attention to this story following the airing of the film on the Italian channel." He added: "There is no official or popular reaction to this issue because the US media did not pay much attention to it."

Asked if the US Congress was going to question Pentagon officials with regard to this issue, Al-Alami said: "The Congress might not pay attention to this issue, maybe because of the fact that the US media outlets did not pay much attention to it." He added: "US legislators might not give attention to this issue because of the fact that the Pentagon said that the material used was not a chemical weapon but rather a conventional weapon, according to a US military spokesman."
Al-Jazeera also interviewed former Pentagon adviser Harlan Ullman on the US media "blackout" on this issue. Harlan said: "First of all, there is no evidence that civilians were killed by such a weapon. The film only shows dead civilians; it is not known what type of weapon was used to kill them. White phosphorus is usually used to illuminate enemy locations and create a smoke screen to prevent the enemy from identifying the troops' location. It is a conventional weapon." He added: "As for the dead civilians shown in the film, the cause of their death is not known."

Asked about the credibility of the US soldier's testimony that he was warned that white phosphorus might be used in Al-Fallujah operations, Ullman said: "Having one person in one documentary saying something like this does not make what he said true." He added that the issue was not whether these civilians were killed by white phosphorus or a conventional weapon. "The question is: Were they intentionally or accidentally killed? We should not focus on the type of weapons used to kill them because this will smear the US forces' image and give the impression that the US forces use banned weapons," he added.

Asked if the images of the completely burnt bodies that appeared in the film made him wonder how they were killed, Ullman replied: "I participated in many battles and saw many burnt and dead bodies killed by conventional weapons. If this is a crime, it should be investigated to identify those responsible for it. The film does not provide any evidence. It neither shows the number of those killed nor when and where they were killed. The whole issue needs further investigation. The Americans do not want to hide this issue. It is silly to continue focusing on whether or not white phosphorus was used. What is important is to investigate why these people were killed." Source: Al-Jazeera TV, Doha, in Arabic

November 18
Bangladesh: Protest against killing of journalist in Faridpur

Gautam Das, staff reporter of Dainik Samakal, was strangled by unknown assailants at his office on the second floor of a multi-storeyed building at Niltali in the town on Wednesday night [16 November]. The autopsy report said it was a case of homicide.

Journalists strongly protested the murder of Gautam. A rally chaired by President of Faridpur Journalists Association, Munshi Harunur Rashid, demanded arrest of the killers within four days. The rally announced a four-day mourning, when local newspaper offices will hoist black flags and journalists will wear black badges. Source: The Daily Star website, Dhaka, in English 18 Nov 05

November 18
Iran launches first private satellite TV

With the establishment of a network entitled: Salaris, by Iranian and Chinese industrial companies; the first private satellite TV network has been launched in Tehran. [agency's headline]
According to a TV correspondent of Mehr News Agency, the satellite TV network, which broadcasts in English, has been launched thanks to the efforts of Iran Automobile Company and a number of Chinese companies. The network's priority is to focus on economic issues.

The Salaris satellite network is the first private satellite network which has offices Tehran and Dubai. Source: Mehr news agency, Tehran

November 21
Al-Jazeera opens Johannesburg bureau

Johannesburg, 21 November: Middle East-based news channel Al-Jazeera International has opened offices in Johannesburg and has hired former SABC [South African Broadcasting Corporation] senior reporter Kalay Maistry as its Southern Africa correspondent.

Speaking to Sapa on Monday [21 November] evening, Maistry, who has extensive broadcast journalism experience, described joining the channel as a "fresh challenge".

"It's a 24-hour international news challenge and I'll be doing what I've always dreamed of: being a foreign correspondent." Maistry left the national broadcaster recently and Monday was her first day at Al Jazeera International.

She said she believed the news channel had no hidden agenda and that it was committed to impartiality and reporting on Africa in a way that would show a different side to it. Source: SAPA news agency website, Johannesburg, in English

November 21
Kuwaiti minister announces project for Arab cultural TV channel

London: Kuwaiti Information Minister Dr Anas al-Rashid has announced a project to launch the Arab cultural channel "Discovery" for the purpose of increasing scientific, cultural, and intellectual awareness in the region, saying it is an effort to limit the culture of extremism and violence.

Al-Rashid disclosed this during his intervention at the last day of the "extremism and terror" seminar which discussed hate media and how to limit its use to incite violence and terror.
The Kuwaiti information minister said at the seminar sponsored by the Kuwaiti Information Centre and Al-Sharq al-Awsat that he had presented this project to Kuwaiti Prime Minister Shaykh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jabir al-Sabah after talks with channel officials. He added that this project would be presented to the Gulf Cooperation Council leaders. Source: Al-Sharq al-Awsat website, London

November 22
Iranian minister at Non-Aligned Movement summit criticizes western media

Kuala Lumpur, 22 November: An Iranian cabinet minister today lashed out at the western media at an international conference here, for distorting facts and projecting "a different picture to the world". Iran Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance [Mohammad Hoseyn] Saffar-Harandi said while Iranian President Dr [Mahmud] Ahmadinezhad had time and again declared that it was the aim of the Iranian government to establish justice, compassion, service and building a healthy and developed society in the country, the "western colonialist media" were distorting facts and portraying the country differently to the world.

"This attitude of the western media is not merely aimed at Iran," he said, adding that at the end, people of the west "do not hear anything about developing countries except darkness."

In a debate at the Sixth Conference of Ministers of Information of Non-Aligned Countries (COMINAC VI), he said often the same media also imposed their own plans and ideas on third world countries. Harandi said despite the fact that more than half-a-century had lapsed since the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), most developing nations continue to suffer from the remedies that the western media prescribed to them.

"As we all know every country has the right to develop and have access to information as a basic human right. However, in this one-sided flow of information from north to south, 20 per cent of the world population prepares information for the remaining 80 per cent," he added.

He said like in the case of other development, access to information too should be subjected to just distribution so that it guaranteed the independence and preserved the non-aligned status of the 114 member countries of NAM. He said presently, the invasion of a country was not restricted to military expedition but included the media's "soft war" against the weak and isolated nations.

He said the unjust threats faced by developing countries today came in the guise of human rights, championed by the western media. "As these powers control the international flow of information, they distort facts in such a way as if there is no discrimination, poverty stricken localities, indiscriminate shooting at primary schools (pupils) and fraudulent elections in their own countries.

"Interestingly they claim that they are the saviours of mankind and other nations, including NAM countries, and that developing countries are anti-human," said Harandi.
He also said that there were double standards in the reporting. The same media which does not utter a word about the nuclear arsenals of Israel, which has over 300 nuclear warheads, makes a hue and cry over efforts by Iran to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, he said. "While on one hand the US talks of the New World Order, on the other hand, it continuously seeks to impose its economic, military, cultural and technological dominance on other nations," he added.

He said the need to have an effective Non-Aligned Movement News Network (NNN) and closer cooperation among the mass media of NAM member countries was felt more than ever as it could promote joint information services and confront the existing monopoly over news and information flow. NAM members and other developing countries should provide each other with news reports in order to have a better picture of what is happening in the world and not rely on western news agencies alone, said Harandi. Source: Bernama news agency website, Kuala Lumpur

November 22
Qatar/USA: Arab editor reacts to report of Bush plan to bomb Al-Jazeera

[Jammul] The British Daily Mirror newspaper has said that a document, which Labour MP Tony Clarke received, included information confirming that US President George Bush briefed British Prime Minister Tony Blair, during the latter's visit to the White House in April 2004, on a plan to bomb the Al-Jazeera channel in Qatar and some of its offices abroad. The newspaper said that Blair warned President Bush that carrying out such action could provoke a worldwide backlash. Reuters said that a British civil servant was accused of leaking the document and that he was interrogated.

A 10 Downing Street source refused to comment on the newspaper's report. The newspaper said that former British Defence Minister Peter Kilfoyle challenged the Prime Minister's Office to publish the content of the document. The Daily Mirror said that the existence of such a document raises doubts about the responsibility for bombing the Al-Jazeera office in Kabul.

I have with me from London Abd-al-Bari Atwan, chief editor of Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper. What does President Bush thinking of bombing Al-Jazeera and some of its offices abroad mean?

[Atwan] We know that the mass media is a basic component of war, any war that is launched to achieve political aims. The Arab mass media was primarily targeted to prevent the emergence of facts about the US and British lies regarding the war on Iraq. If we go back a little bit, we find that the US administration did resort to aerial bombardment to destroy the Al-Jazeera offices in Kabul. It also bombed the Al-Jazeera and Abu Dhabi channels' offices in Baghdad during the Iraqi war in early 2003. As a result, colleague Tariq Ayyub was martyred and colleague Taysir Alluni, who was later arrested, miraculously survived the attack. The US administration seeks to mislead the Arab and world public opinion and cover up the lies related to the war and the reasons for launching this war. It seeks to cover up the losses. Al-Jazeera is still banned in Iraq. It has also been banned by several Arab countries. In addition, the United States had earmarked 60m dollars to finance the Al-Hurrah channel to counter Al-Jazeera. The British government intends to launch a satellite channel in Arabic to compete with Al-Jazeera. The Arab countries that were harmed by the modern Arab media represented by Al-Jazeera established a satellite channel and channelled hundreds of millions of dollars to it in order to black out... [passage omitted] .Source: Al-Jazeera TV, Doha, in Arabic 0912 gmt 22 Nov 05

November 23
QATAR: Al Jazeera says it is studying Daily Mirror report

Al Jazeera says it is looking into a report in Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper alleging that US President George Bush planned to bomb the broadcaster's TV station.

In a statement on Tuesday [22 November], Al Jazeera said it "maintains a set of journalistic practices built on being fair, impartial and balanced, and as is the standard practice with every story, Aljazeera is going through a due diligence process of verifying the details of the Daily Mirror report". It added: "Before making any conclusions Al Jazeera needs to be absolutely sure regarding the authenticity of the memo and would hope for a confirmation from Downing Street as soon as possible.

"If the report is correct then this would be both shocking and worrisome not only to Al Jazeera but to media organizations across the world." The station added that if the leaked memo was authentic, "it would cast serious doubts in regard to the US administration's version of previous incidents involving Aljazeera's journalists and offices.

"It would also constitute a new chapter in the relationship between two of the most powerful governments in the world and media organizations in general. "We sincerely urge both the White House and Downing Street to challenge the Daily Mirror report and in the event that the memo is found to be accurate it would be incumbent on them to explain their positions on statements regarding the deliberate targeting of journalists and news organizations," Al Jazeera said.
In April 2003, an Aljazeera journalist died when its Baghdad office was struck during a US bombing campaign. In November 2002, Aljazeera's office in Kabul, Afghanistan, was destroyed by a US missile, although no staff were in the office at the time. US officials said they believed the target was a "terrorist" site and did not know it was Aljazeera's office. Source: Aljazeera.net Web site, Doha, in English 0651 gmt 23 Nov 05

November 24
Al-Jazeera chief wants probe into bomb plan allegation, concerned over UK step

George W. Bush voiced the intention of bombing Al-Jazeera's headquarters in Qatar, but the press was prohibited from disseminating the news because it could have been prosecuted for violating state secrecy. [Passage omitted, summarizing details of story to date] Well, Wadah Khanfar, who is Al-Jazeera's director-general, does not believe in the two Western allies' [United States, United Kingdom] good faith. A Jordanian of Palestinian origin, 36-year-old Khanfar is in Rome today for the presentation of a book on his television channel by Donatella Della Ratta.

[Dusi] Do you really believe that the United States might have bombarded you?

[Khanfar] The fact that the British magistracy has moved to prevent dissemination of the report boosts my concern. We have already lost two journalists under US bombs, in Kabul in 2001 and in Afghanistan in 2003. According to the United States, they were accidents. Now we no longer believe in this version, and we are calling for a complete investigation both into today's threats and into the two episodes in the past.
[Dusi] What repercussions has the report had in the Arab world?
[Khanfar] We have had many expressions of solidarity from viewers, from colleagues in journalism and from associations for the freedom of the press. The United States' credibility as the bearer of democracy in the Middle East has suffered a further blow. Is this the message that it wants to get across to us? It seems to me, rather, to be an insult to rationality.
[Dusi] By what path should the Middle East achieve democracy?

[Khanfar] Democracy is part of a broader concept of reforms that include freedom, education, development, information, prosperity and security. All of these factors go hand in hand. The war in Iraq has had the positive effect of removing Saddam, but the price that the Middle East is paying is too high and, in the end, US policy is achieving the opposite effect from what it was hoping to achieve. It is actually slowing down the reform process.

Al-Jazeera, on the other hand, is a leading player in that process. Our television station represents the most reliable and rapid means for reform. Do they accuse us of being extremists? Well, our response is the millions of viewers who choose us in full freedom because they trust us and identify with our line. Source: La Repubblica, Rome, in Italian 24 Nov 05

November 24
Qatar: Al-Jazeera staff plan protest over reported Bush remarks

Journalists' rights groups are urging the United States and Britain to provide clarification of a report that suggests US President George Bush sought to bomb Al-Jazeera.
The controversy surrounds details of a leaked British government memo published by a UK newspaper, the Daily Mirror, earlier this week. "This is a very serious charge with grave implications for the safety of media professionals," said Ann Cooper, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. "Refusing to address these reports in a substantive way only fuels suspicions." [Passage omitted]
Another media advocacy group, Reporters Without Borders, said: "We find it hard to believe that President Bush really discussed this possibility. This would be extremely serious and would constitute a major and unprecedented violation of the right to information. If this report turns out to be true, it offers a new insight into the motives of the US forces, which have already bombed Al-Jazeera offices twice, in Afghanistan and Iraq."

"The staff of Al-Jazeera have decided to organize on Thursday a symbolic sit-in in front of the headquarters of the channel in Doha and its overseas bureaus to protest against this news," said Al-Jazeera journalist Yussuf al-Shuli, who is also vice-president of the Arab Association for the Defence of Journalists.

About 100 of the channel's journalists and employees have signed a petition calling on the broadcaster's board of governors to hold an official inquiry into the allegations.
They also demanded an immediate end "to attacks and incitement against Al-Jazeera and its employees," and called for "the opening of an inquiry into the bombing of Al-Jazeera's offices in Kabul and Baghdad". [Passage omitted] Source: Aljazeera.net website, Doha, in English 0748 gmt 24 Nov 05

November 24
Al-Jazeera staff stage sit-in, call for investigation into alleged Bush remarks

Al-Jazeera staff in Doha and abroad are currently staging a sit-in calling for an investigation of the report by Britain's Daily Mirror. In a statement, Reporters Without Borders voiced concern over the report which the Daily Mirror published indicating that the US president was thinking of bombing the head office of Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel in Qatar.
The statement added that bombing any media institution during times of peace is not acceptable and cannot be justified. Reporters Without Borders said that establishing the authenticity of what has been published would provide new proof regarding the motives of the US forces which previously bombed the offices of Al-Jazeera in Afghanistan and Iraq. Source: Al-Jazeera TV, Doha

November 24
Qatar/USA/UK: Editorial slams Arab media's response to reported US plan to bomb

Arabic television stations did not show the interest that was expected of them in a British document, which revealed a US plan to bomb the Al-Jazeera satellite television channel. Most Arabic newspapers totally ignored the report, showing disarray in the Arab media, including radio and television. It also shows their total submission to government authorities, which harbour hatred of Al-Jazeera, and would have liked President George Bush to have carried out his threats and erase this Arabic station from existence along with its employees.

The British media showed great interest in this issue, not because they are biased towards the Al-Jazeera channel, but because they hold the view that striking a television channel, regardless of its identity, is a serious action that contravenes all moral and legal norms and sets a serious precedent. This is especially true in light of the fact that those who planned this crime claim that they seek to spread Western values and say they lead the free world and seek to spread democracy and freedom of expression.

The Arab media were expected to take a more powerful position on this grave issue than their British counterparts. However, their reactions were very disappointing. The majority of these media were silent and ignored the matter, as if the issue was of no concern to them.

Professional competition does not breach solidarity with more than 400 journalists working at the Al-Jazeera channel, who would have been bombed and killed, exactly as was the case with their colleague, Tariq Ayyub, who was martyred in a US bombing of the Al-Jazeera office in Baghdad.

On the other hand, disagreement with the station's administration does not mean that others should gloat over US threats, the aim of which are to terrorize Arab media.
The document, which contained this terrorist plot, is true. The US administration did not deny what the British newspaper, The Daily Mirror, revealed. It just refused to comment on the report.

Meanwhile, the British Attorney-General sent a memorandum warning British media chiefs that he would use the courts if they publish detailed reports related to the document, on the grounds that such a step would breach the Official Secrets Act.
Al-Jazeera acquired great credibility among Arab viewers because it was eager to publish the greatest number of facts about the US aggression against Iraq and discussed issues that were taboo in the Arab media, such as corruption, dictatorship and human rights violations. It also gave airtime for Arab opposition parties to highlight their views. This stand placed Al-Jazeera in confrontation with an alliance consisting of the United States and its men in the Iraqi government on the one hand and most Arab regimes on the other.

What is certain, however, is that Al-Jazeera emerged as the main winner from the revelation of this secret document, which exposed the Bush administration's lies about democracy and freedoms of the media. Other Arabic television stations and media would have gained too, had they shown solidarity with Al-Jazeera against this flagrant US terrorism.
This shameful silence towards a plan to bomb an Arabic television station is yet another confirmation that there is only one chief editor for most Arab media. He sits in the White House, if not in the Defence Department, the Pentagon. Source: Al-Quds al-Arabi, London, in Arabic 24 Nov 05

November 25
Jordan: Press Association concerns over alleged US Al-Jazeera plot

The Jordan Press Association (JPA) on Thursday [24 November] voiced concern over foreign press reports that the US planned to bomb the headquarters of the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera satellite channel and some of its international offices.
The JPA board, chaired by the association's president Tariq Mumani, said should the report prove to be authentic it would be regarded as "a crime against mankind" and a flagrant violation of international laws protecting journalists and media institutions. Source: Jordan Times, Ammanin

November 27
Afghan religious scholars demand death penalty for blasphemy editor

[Presenter] The Kandahar council of religious scholars held a meeting yesterday [26 November] and told the government that if Ali Mohaqeq Nasab [editor--in-chief of publication accused of blasphemy] does not repent, he should be executed.
Those attending the meeting also asked the government to establish seminaries for religious students in the country.
[Correspondent] Scholars said to the government at a meeting on Saturday [26 November] that if Ali Mohaqeq Nasab does not repent, he should be sentenced to death. [Voice of a member of Kandahar Scholar Council indistinct]

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