Satellite Chronicle
January 2006


01/03/2006 Media banned from reporting on US Congress vote on Pakistani nuclear scientist

Text of Online report headlined: "Media stopped from publishing 9/11 report" by Pakistani newspaper Daily Times website on 1 March

Islamabad: A special sub-committee of the National Assembly's Public Accounts Committee has prohibited the media from publishing changes in the 9/11 Commission report and details of voting in the US Congress regarding Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Foreign Secretary Riaz M Khan briefed the media on voting in the US Congress regarding Dr AQ Khan, but requested them not to publish details of the incident on grounds that it would be "detrimental to the national interest".

Source: Daily Times website, Lahore, in English 1 Mar 06


15/01/2006 Afghanistan: Two new TV channels start transmission in western province

Text of report in English by Afghan independent Pajhwok news agency website

Herat, 15 January: Two new private television channels in the name of Saqi and Hera have launched transmissions in western Herat Province.

Saqi started transmissions on Friday [13 January] with a four-hour broadcast daily. Speaking to Pajhwok Afghan News, director of the channel Tariq Nabi said although they lacked enough funding and workforce, the channel would gradually progress. With no presenter and anchor, Saqi's programmes have been aired with text appearing on screen before the start of a particular segment.

Regarding his future plans, Nabi said he would run the channel by employing students of journalism, law and sharia faculties of the Herat University. He said funds would be needed to extend transmissions to all districts.

The other TV channel named Hera has six-hour transmissions a day. It has two anchors. Najibullah, Hera manager, told this reporter the channel was officially launched after broadcasting programmes on experimental basis for three weeks.

Wali Shah Bahra, Director of the Information and Culture Department, said Saqi TV had registered with the government, but the other had yet to get a licence.

Presently, four private TV channels, including Tolo, Aina, Ariana and Sada-i-Ghorian, are airing programmes in Herat Province.

Source: Pajhwok Afghan News website, Kabul, in English 1030 gmt 15 Jan 06


17/01/2006 Iranian president removes ban on CNN after apology

Text of report by Iranian TV on 17 January

In a letter addressed to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, President Ahmadinezhad announced that CNN network may continue its activities in Iran.

In his memorandum, the president stressed that distortion of news is against media's mission to protect people's right of access to information, but because this network has apologized, its office in Tehran may continue its activities.

This American network had blatantly distorted the president's statement during his press conference on Saturday [14 January]. This network had misinterpreted the president's statement that all nations should be given the right to access "nuclear technology" into their right to access "nuclear weapons".

Source: Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 1, Tehran, in Persian 0430 gmt 17 Jan 06


21/01/2006 Afghan media seek clarification as TV channel fined for unislamic shows

Text of report by Afghan independent Tolo TV on 21 January

[Presenter] A number of people working in the mass media have expressed concern about the working practices of the commission set up to look into violations of the law on the mass media, and want the commission to give a clear definition of the standards on the basis of which the media should carry out their activities.

[Correspondent] Some media employees in Afghanistan have reacted to the fact that the [private] Afghan TV channel was fined by the commission set up to look into violations of the law on the mass media. This commission, chaired by Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Sayed Makhdum Rahin, charged the channel with broadcasting what the commission called anti-Islamic images and programmes.

Jawed Farhad, editor-in-chief of Panjara weekly, says this measure by the commission is a clear violation of freedom of speech. Speaking to Tolo television about the issue, he said:

[Jawed Farhad] In my opinion, it is not right if personal interests or relations are raised on the pretext of Islamic values or violation of these values.

[Correspondent] Cable TV channels were also banned for a while in Kabul last year.

Speaking to Tolo television via telephone, Ahmad Shah Afghanzai, director of the Afghan TV channel, said he was not aware of the measure taken by the commission.

[Ahmad Shah Afghanzai] They did not tell us for which programme we were fined or when that programme was broadcast. It is also not clear to what extent the commission has the authority to fine the media without a judicial ruling from the court.

Source: Tolo TV, Kabul, in Dari 1330 gmt 21 Jan 06


15/01/2006 Afghan governor urges improvement in radio, TV broadcasts

Text of report by Afghan state-run newspaper Etefaq-e Eslam on 15 January

Alhaj Sayed Hosayn Anwari, the governor of Herat, met heads of departments and staff of the provincial administration yesterday. Deputy Governor Mir Abdol Khaleq was also present at the meeting.

At this meeting, which was held at the provincial administration headquarters yesterday morning, the governor briefed officials on the result of his visit to Kabul and meetings with the central government officials. He also ordered the officials to improve administrative affairs.

Among other issues, the governor ordered officials to improve the quality of media sources in Herat, including Herat TV, newspapers and other sources. The governor also had a critical view of Herat TV and radio broadcasts and urged the related officials to involve religious scholars and social foundations to commission programmes, particularly on the occasion of religious, national and historical events. He added that the officials should broadcast programmes in line with religious values, the country's constitution and national and religious glories.

Source: Etefaq-e Eslam, Herat, in Dari 15 Jan 06


02/01/2006 Iran Press: Columnist warns of dangers of student internet use

Text of column by Seyyed Mohammad Mehdi Musavi on IIranian newspaper Hemayat website on 2 January

"The youths have increased their misuse of the Internet." Sometime ago the minister of health and medical treatment announced in an interesting statement that: "95 per cent of the students in dormitories and educational centers misuse the Internet." He added: "It is not very wise to increase the Internet servers in the universities without the necessary knowledge." Dr Kamran Baqeri-Lankarani also said: "Many of the universities and student dormitories are ignoring the libraries, and, considering the fact that an increase in the students' access to electronic sources usually does not improve their educational condition, this should be looked into; and there is no doubt that using domestic Internet networks is more useful.

Although the minister of health might have exaggerated the figures mentioned above, the truth is that unfortunately a great amount of the country's student population does not use the Internet as a medium which is related to the academic field, and the Internet should be used correctly and scientifically. The truth is that the Internet is not like a satellite, the misuse of which can be prevented, because nowadays anyone who has a computer and a telephone line can have access to the Internet. Filtering has not been very successful in preventing the infiltration of immoral and unsuitable sites of the West among the country's youths and especially the students. In other words, the Internet and especially misusing it has become like a virus which has become more and more immune to the anti-viruses injected into it over the years.

Some of the most important Internet dangers which strongly threaten our youths are encouraging them to view pornography, changing their sexual pattern and consequently weakening their religious beliefs, showing the culture and life style of the West as superior and... We cannot deny the fact that nowadays there are hundreds and hundreds of immoral sites in the world and even inside our country, sites that advertise homosexuality, sexual sadism, illegitimate relations and... Enticing sexual feelings by pornographic stories, pictures and films from the famous Hollywood actors and actresses are all in all elements used to advertise Western culture. This is the reason why it is right to say that the West wants to use its media power in order to entrap the world in modern slavery, a goal which, if achieved, will lead the world to a state of no identity and will damage identities and pure human civilizations.

We should not forget that the Internet is among the consumers' utilities which, if misused, will change from a potential opportunity to a practical threat for youths. Therefore it is the duty of high-ranking officials of the country, especially the university administrators and officials, to keep a very keen eye on this matter. It seems that the administrators should gain complete knowledge of the matter and then use this knowledge to foster policies that could help block this increasing wave. There is no doubt that if the officials are alert today and also inform the students of the positive and negative aspects of the Internet, they can help solve a great number of such problems. It goes without saying that if all the people, from the officials to the people, are aware of the illegal use of the Internet in society and react to this problem in time, there can be hope about its elimination. Otherwise, we should expect to see more of its consequences in the future.

Source: Hemayat website, Tehran, in Persian 2 Jan 06


23/01/2006 Iraq/USA: Iraqi journalist freed "without charge"

Excerpt from press release by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on 23 January

New York: The US military freed an Iraqi television cameraman on Sunday [22 January] after holding the journalist without charge for nearly eight months. Samir Mohammed Noor, a freelancer working for Reuters, was released from detention in Camp Bucca in southern Iraq.

The military continues to hold without charge at least one journalist in Iraq and another at the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Committee to Protect Journalists [CPJ] called on the US military to disclose evidence of criminal wrongdoing against the journalists still in custody or release the two immediately.

Iraqi troops arrested Noor, 30, at his home in the northern town of Tal Afar. A US military spokesman initially told Reuters that Noor was "an imperative threat to the coalition forces and the security of Iraq", but US officials did not disclose any evidence supporting the detention. Initially held at Abu Ghraib prison, Noor was later transferred to Camp Bucca. Noor was freed without charge, and a US spokesman told news organizations that the military had no comment on the case.

Two other journalists working for Reuters, cameraman Ali al-Mashhadani and reporter Majed Hameed, were freed without charge on 15 January as part of a prisoner release that included about 500 Iraqi detainees. They were each held for several months.

"Samir Mohammed Noor should not have been jailed for eight months without charge, explanation, or due process," CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said. "The military owes an explanation for this open-ended and unsubstantiated detention. US officials should also credibly explain the basis for the other detentions or release those journalists immediately."

The United States rose to sixth among countries jailing journalists worldwide - holding at least five - when CPJ conducted its annual census of imprisoned journalists on 1 December 2005. Two journalists remain in US custody today. [Passage omitted: Details of CBS News cameraman Abdul Ameer Younis Hussein and Al-Jazeera assistant cameraman Sami Muhyideen al-Haj]

Source: Committee to Protect Journalists press release, New York, in English 23 Jan 06


24/01/2006 Analysis: Pakistani cable operators oppose ban on Indian TV channels

Editorial analysis by Steve Metcalf of BBC Monitoring Media Services on 24 January

Cable television subscribers in Pakistan have experienced some disruption to their viewing schedules in the past month. It began when the authorities ordered a halt to the transmission of some 35 foreign channels, mainly Indian. Cable service providers, angry at the loss of revenue, have responded with temporary suspensions of all services and a block on two private Pakistani channels.

The dispute began on 23 December, when the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority reminded cable operators that they were "only authorized to air channels which have been licensed or permitted by PEMRA". Equipment was seized from cable providers in raids in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, although the APP news agency reported on the 24th that the equipment had been returned.

APP quoted a PEMRA spokesman as saying that 35 channels which had not been granted "landing rights" in Pakistan could not be shown by cable operators. They included a number of popular Indian sports and entertainment channels from the Star, Zee and Sony stables.


28/01/2006 Iranian commentator reacts to Dutch ban on two satellite TV stations

Text of report by Iranian TV on 28 January

[Presenter] The Netherlands has banned the transmission of programmes by Sahar and Al-Manar international TV stations. What is the true message of this measure? Let me draw your attention to this news magazine's political commentary:

[Esma'ili, radio and TV commentator] The recent step taken by the Dutch government, banning the transmission of programmes by Sahar TV, from Iran, and Al-Manar TV, from Lebanon, on the pretext of their approaches, involving revelations about the Zionist regime - in fact, if we compare this to the claims made by the West about establishing a free flow of information and freedom of speech and condemning news censorship and the imposition of restrictions in the arena of the media, it shows very well the level of commitment that Western countries have to these claims.

Another point that arises here, in my view, is the West's supportive approach towards the Zionist regime. In fact, this kind of approach puts the West blatantly behind the Zionist regime and against the oppressed nation of Palestine; just as we saw that, in the recent elections of the Palestinian nation, they were unable to accept the victory of the Palestinian nation in voting for Hamas and they have taken firm stances against this.

In fact, by making an exploitative use of slogans such as the free flow of information or freedom of speech or the condemnation of restrictions on the news, the West tries to pursue its own aims. And any medium that goes against these aims by adopting independent approaches - whether by trying to make revelations about the crimes of the Zionist regime or Western countries or by failing to fall within the framework of their interests and aims or by failing to fall under the banner of the Zionist lobby - such media naturally become subject to news restrictions. Their stations [transmissions] are cut off and they will not [be allowed to] have facilities for broadcasting programmes in the West.

In fact, with this approach, Western countries are, in practice, creating news restrictions and censorship in the West.

Source: Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 1, Tehran, in Persian 1802 gmt 28 Jan 06


28/01/2006 Kuwaitis protest Danish press "offence" against Islam, urge economic boycott

Text of report in English by Kuwaiti news agency Kuna website

Kuwait, 28 January: Hundreds of Kuwaitis staged an over one-hour sit-in-strike Saturday [28 January] opposite to the Danish consulate headquarters in the capital denouncing an offence by a Danish newspaper against the Prophet of Islam Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, and urged people to boycott Danish products in the country.

Several Kuwaiti religious figures and MPs expressed deep displeasure over the Danish press offence against the prophet, calling for putting an end for such violations that flagrantly harm the feelings of billions of Muslims all around the globe.

The strikers also urged the Danish government to apologize to all Muslim nations and to stop abusing the prophet and the Islamic faith in general.

They also urged people, local firms, union of cooperative societies' supermarkets and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry here to boycott all Danish products and to send condemnation notices to the Danish government for not taking any action on the newspapers' flagrant offence against Muslims all over the world.

In the meantime, Chairman of the National Union for Kuwait Students, that organized the event, Ahmad al-Kandari, handed over a condemnation notice to the Danish consul in Kuwait on the issue.

In return, the consul handed over a letter of apology to Al-Kandari, affirming that the Danish premier had denounced, in an earlier statement, any statement, action, or an expression intending to deform the image of a particular group of people based on their faith or ethnicity.

Earlier today, several Kuwaiti MPs called on Danish and European institutions to take legal action against the disdaining of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) [peace and blessings be upon him] in accordance with related international laws.

Source: Kuna news agency website, Kuwait, in English 1830 gmt 28 Jan 06


24/01/2006 Afghan daily calls for strict control over mass media

Text of editorial headlined "A justified act by the commission to review violations of mass media law" published by Afghan newspaper Cheragh on 24 January

The recent measure taken by the commission to review violations of the mess media law, led by Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Dr Sayed Makhdum Rahin, is justifiable according to Cheragh daily but it is not enough. The commission fined Afghan TV more than 50,000 afghanis [equivalent to 1,000 dollars] for screening a lewd film which provoked our people.

The Afghan people have been able to breathe easily for the past four years after the period of mental torture and cultural stagnation exercized by the Taleban and thus they have been able to present their thoughts and art to their readers and audience with the help of the mass media law.

Some people exploited differences of opinion and this holy medium was used as a weapon for beating rivals and playing with the emotions of the people which is really harmful for our newly-formed media family.

The visual media, namely TV channels, would insult the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan directly or indirectly by ignoring Islam and the culture of Afghan society and in this way they would ridicule the needs of our society which are promoting culture and a civil society based of Islamic morals.

So, our people start thinking that all the things they do are ordered and planned by others. Unfortunately, lack of knowledge in news broadcasting and lack of skills in this arena has caused such films and programmes to be screened.

When the visual media violate our beliefs, traditions and culture, the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan have a responsibility first to fine them and then, if they continue to break the rules, to put a stop to their irresponsible activities.

Muslim Afghans cannot watch such programmes broadcast right into their homes. They cannot allow a few people to disrupt their family life by promoting a lewd culture.

We hope that the commission will be even more courageous and strict in dealing with media which want to create a distorted environment and mentally torture our people.

Source: Cheragh, Kabul, in Pashto 24 Jan 06

26/01/2006 Inadequate power forces closure of Afghanistan's Radio Helmand

Text of report in English by Afghan independent Pajhwok news agency website

Lashkargah, 26 January: Low power voltage and frequent outages have forced off air broadcasts of a Taleban-era radio station in the restive southern province of Helmand.

Inaugurated six years back, Radio Helmand daily aired programmes to listeners in Lashkargah and other districts from 1600-2100 until recently. Its broadcasts, however, were disrupted by recurrent power shutdowns in recent weeks.

Abdol Malik Moshfiq, Helmand's radio and television director, informed Pajhwok Afghan News on Thursday that the current level of power voltage was inadequate to meet requirements of the huge radio station, which had to suspend its broadcasts.

Provincial Information and Culture Department head Jan Gol, in a chat with this news agency, claimed those concerned had promised enhanced power supply to the radio station. However, he hastened to add they did not have the money required for funding a new power-supply line.

Engineer Faizollah, Helmand's energy and water director, observed power consumption in the province had considerably increased with the advent of winter. He explained eight transformers had exploded in one month alone and thus they could not ensure a round-the-clock power supply to keep radio programmes on air.

Mohammad Ghaus, a 25-year-old Lashkargah dweller, acknowledged Radio Helmand aired educational programmes, which were appreciated by listeners. He urged the government to do all it could to ensure an early resumption of its broadcasts in the interest of listeners.

It's intriguing to note Radio Helmand had to suspend its broadcasts due to regular power outages in a province where Afghanistan's largest Kajaki dam is situated.

Source: Pajhwok Afghan News website, Kabul, in English 1257 gmt 26 Jan 06


18/01/2006 Iranian weekly suggests probe into daily's "suspicious performance"

Text of report: "Who runs Sharq?", published by the Iranian weekly Ya Lesarat ol-Hoseyn on 18 January

Directors of the daily paper Sharq still openly collaborate with foreign intelligence services on their projects despite that they had pledged to security officials they would avoid damaging national interests.

This extremist daily that last year had collaborated on projects of foreign security services, promised to change its policy.

Publishing material concerning the nuclear case and likening the resistance of former directors of foreign policy to superstition [sentence as published] and collaborating with the CIA on the project of discrediting Ahmad Chalabi are instances of this daily's cooperation with foreigners.

In the last round of its collaboration with foreign intelligence services on their projects, this daily cooperated with the CIA in its attempt against the Syrian government. This daily published statements of Abd-al-Halim Khaddam, who revealed secrets of long cooperation with the CIA and the French intelligence service. This came as a big shock. It was published with the title "Al-Asad's Right Hand Exposes Facts," while all other newspapers, including reform-minded press, covered this event as treason by Khaddam against the Syrian government, for which Khaddam once served as one of its leaders.

It is said that the suspicious performance of this daily, which has lost huge oil income, will be investigated by authorities.

Source: Ya Lesarat ol-Hoseyn, Tehran, in Persian 18 Jan 06


26/01/2006 Palestinian Hamas opens Persian website - Iranian daily

Text of unattributed news report, entitled: "The Hamas Movement sets up website in Persian" published by Iranian newspaper Kayhan website on 26 January

The representative of the Hamas Revolutionary Movement in Tehran, Abu-Usamah Abd-al-Mu'ti, has reported the establishment of the first Palestinian website in Persian.

Abd-al-Mu'ti, by sending a fax to Kayhan, announced that the website's address on the Internet is: www. He added that the central website is also available at: www.; which provides information on the Palestine-related issues and developments round-the-clock.

The people of Iran and other Persian speakers can, therefore, follow the Palestinian developments in Persian. The website also offers services in Arabic, English, French, Russian, Pakistani Urdu language and Malawi language.

Moreover, the website offers other information on Palestine, including political and economic commentaries, news reports, the history and geography of Palestine, biography of the Palestinian martyrs, information on the refugees and the injured, history of Zionism, the crimes of the Zionists, the conspiracies of the colonial powers, published books and important articles on Palestine.

Source: Kayhan website, Tehran, in Persian 26 Jan 06


25/01/2006 Iraq/Canada: Five channels now available via subscription

Text of press release by Canada-based JumpTV on 25 January

As the eyes of the world continue to focus on the rebuilding efforts in Iraq, a truly independent media marketplace is emerging for the first time in the country's history. Five of the independent national broadcast television stations in Iraq have announced an exclusive partnership with JumpTV (, the world's leading online television network.

The stations carried by JumpTV include Al Baghdadia (, Al Fayhaa (, Alsumaria ( and Beladi TV, along with the previously announced AldiyarSat (, the only television station in the world broadcasting gavel-to-gavel coverage of the trial of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. For a monthly subscription of between 9.95 US dollars and 19.95 US dollars, subscribers to JumpTV can watch any of the Iraqi stations, anytime, via any internet-enabled device.

"Independent television channels sprung up quickly after the fall of Saddam Hussein and the Baath party, responding directly to the thirst for independent and credible sources of news and information," said Inam Abdul Majeed, production manager, Al Fayhaa. "Not only do the people living in Iraq want timely and accurate information, but the millions of Iraqis and Arabs living outside the country crave access to Iraqi content as seen through the eyes of their countrymen. With JumpTV and a high-speed Internet connection, those citizens now have entree to affordable, real-time TV from their home country and region."

JumpTV's global distribution network broadcasts live, high-quality television signals from over 100 channels from nearly 50 countries via its website.

"JumpTV is committed to broadcasting the best television content possible and providing every expatriate around the world access to television from home via the internet. This bundle of stations gives viewers their choice of the latest in political, cultural and entertainment programming from Iraq. We anticipate that anyone interested in Iraq will turn to JumpTV for access to unfiltered information broadcast from the source," said Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, president of JumpTV.

"There are millions of people of Middle Eastern descent living around the world who want to follow the trial of Saddam Hussein, the results of the recent elections, and other local programming from independent Iraqi channels," said Amir Hegazi, regional director of Middle East and North Africa for JumpTV. "This is the first country-specific channel-package we are bringing to market, and we plan on rolling out many more country and regional packages in the near future."

Source: JumpTV press release, Toronto, in English 25 Jan 06


26/01/2006 Malaysian deputy PM urges media to handle issues of religion, race with care

Text of unattributed report entitled: "Media should handle sensitive issues with care - Najib" in English by Malaysian news agency Bernama website

Kuala Lumpur, 26 January: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has asked the media to be more responsible in their reporting, especially when dealing with sensitive issues like race and religion.

He said the media which had now been given greater freedom, should not sensationalize their stories to boost sales without thinking of the repercussions on the people.

"In filing reports, the facts must be right. And don't deliberately try and create conflicts especially when it concerns matters of race and religion.

"Although Malaysians are strongly united, each community has its own sensitivities. In this era of greater openness, we need to act with care and wisdom," he said on the one-hour 'Wawancara Khas Bersama Menteri' (Special Interview With The Minister) aired over TV1 Wednesday [25 January] night.

Najib also said the decision of the nine non-Muslim cabinet ministers to withdraw their memorandum last Saturday had eased the tension created by demands to amend Article 121 (1A) of the Constitution.

The section states that civil courts have no jurisdiction over matters relating to Islam.

The deputy prime minister said the action of the ministers in submitting the memorandum to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi caused displeasure among the people and the situation needed to be controlled quickly.

He believed the action by the ministers was misconceived because it gave the impression that there was a split in the cabinet between the Muslim and non-Muslim ministers.

"Their retraction (of the memorandum) was most proper. As soon as they did that, the situation became calm again," he said.

The memorandum which was submitted to the prime minister on 18 January, called for a review of laws affecting non-Muslims, in particular sub-clauses of the article relating to religious conversion. The ministers also wanted the conflicts between syariah and civil laws to be rectified.

It provoked strong criticisms from leaders of political parties and non-governmental organizations, who felt that the ministers, who had direct access to the PM, should have discussed such sensitive matters during the cabinet meeting.

The issue was triggered by events surrounding the death of Mount Everest climber Sergeant M. Moorthy alias Muhammad Abdullah last month which led to Moorthy's widow S. Kaliammal and the Federal Territory Religious Council tussling over the right to bury him.

Moorthy, who died on 20 December, was eventually buried by the religious department on 28 December following a Syariah [Shari'ah] High Court ruling that he was a Muslim and after the High Court decided it had no jurisdiction to intervene in the case.

Replying to a question sent in by email from a viewer, Najib denied the incident showed the cabinet was ineffective.

"The cabinet all this while has been very open and willing to discuss all issues, no matter how sensitive, be it religion, race, culture or education. And it has succeeded in resolving so many challenges," he said.

Referring to the National Service Training Programme, Najib said the government was considering offering contracts to the programme's trainers who had proven their effectiveness and were accepted by the trainees.

He said the trainers, who were now paid on a daily basis, should be given annual contracts to give them greater career security which would enable them to concentrate on improving themselves to become more effective.

"If they are placed on contract, they can serve for nine months as trainers and we can use the remaining three months to train them," he said.

Source: Bernama website, Kuala Lumpur, in English 26 Jan 06


26/01/2006 Dubai to host Mideast electronic media conference

Text of report in English by UAE news agency WAM website

Dubai, 26 January: Dubai will play host to the Middle East Electronic Media summit on 23 February.

"Middle East Electronic Media summit is a strategic event addressing critical issues that is faced by the regional media industry and its professionals. It debates the future of conventional media like newspapers face from the emergence of interactive TV and portals, their fight for the advertisement budget, consumer preference etc.., all of which make this event a must-attend for anyone who looks forward to play a future role in the middle east media industry, organizers," Datamatix Group said.

"The event is expected to offer new perspectives about the evolving electronic media industry and its impact on the print and other conventional media. It will be highly beneficial to media professional from both the electronic and print media and we strongly encourage your organization's participation in this event," the organizers added.

Source: WAM news agency website, Abu Dhabi, in English 26 Jan 06


25/01/2006 USA/Iraq: US-funded radio, TV "reach 71 per cent of Iraqis" - survey

Text of press release by US-based Middle East Broadcasting Networks on 25 January

Al-Hurra TV and Radio Sawa together reach an unduplicated weekly audience of 71 per cent of Iraqi adults 15 and older, according to an independent survey.

The survey was conducted nationwide in Iraq during November and December 2005.

Radio Sawa alone reached 51 per cent of Iraqi adults, making it the most listened to radio station in Iraq. Al-Hurra alone reached 42 per cent of Iraqi adults weekly, ranking fifth among the more than 200 satellite and terrestrial TV stations that can be viewed in Iraq. The only four stations with larger weekly TV audiences than Al-Hurra were Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya, Al-Iraqiyah (each with 71 per cent weekly reach) and Al-Sharqiya (67 per cent weekly reach).

The majority of viewers of Al-Hurra TV and listeners to Radio Sawa considered their news to be reliable. Seventy-three per cent of Al-Hurra's weekly viewers said the news on the channel was reliable and 63 per cent of Radio Sawa's weekly listeners said that station's news was reliable. Radio Sawa was also cited as their number 1 source of radio news by 32 per cent of respondents in the survey followed by the BBC Arabic Service (13 per cent) and Radio Monte Carlo (nine per cent.)

The audience figures reported today confirmed similar findings in earlier studies done in Iraq in 2004 and 2005. This survey along with other surveys in 11 other countries in the Middle East by research companies such as ACNielsen and Ipsos show that together Al-Hurra and Radio Sawa have an unduplicated weekly reach of more than 35 million adults.

The results are based on over 2,000 face-to-face interviews with randomly selected respondents using internationally accepted standard sampling methods. The margin of error is approximately two per cent. This survey was conducted in cooperation with D3 Systems of Vienna, Virginia, by KA Research Limited, a regional research company operating throughout the Middle East and North Africa, with offices in Iraq, Turkey and Belgium.

Al-Hurra TV is broadcast on the Nilesat and Arabsat satellites, the same satellites used by the major regional Arabic channels. It is also available in Baghdad on Channel 12 and in Basra on Channel 3.

Al-Hurra was launched in February 2004, as an Arabic-language alternative source of news and information. Unlike the all-news networks Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, Al-Hurra carries a wide range of current affairs programmes (covering Iraqi and international news) as well as documentaries and other informational programming on a wide variety of subjects, including health and personal fitness, entertainment news, sports, fashion and science and technology.

Al-Hurra maintains a large news bureau in Baghdad which is both the coordination point for its nationwide network of correspondents and the origination point for interviews and roundtables on issues facing Iraq today.

Al-Hurra is operated by the non-profit corporation "The Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc" (MBN). MBN is financed by the US government through a grant from the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), an independent federal agency. The BBG serves oversight and as a firewall to protect the professional independence and integrity of the broadcasters. For more information on Al-Hurra go to

MBN also operates Radio Sawa, which seeks to effectively communicate with the youthful population of Arabic-speakers in the Middle East by providing up-to-date news, information and a mix of Western and Arabic popular music on its 24/7 FM and mediumwave radio stations throughout the region. Its secondary target audience is news-seekers of all ages. Radio Sawa is committed to broadcasting accurate, timely and relevant news about the Middle East, the world and the United States, to the highest standards of journalism, as well as the free marketplace of ideas, respect for the intelligence and culture of its audience, and a style that is upbeat, modern and forward-looking.

Radio Sawa broadcasts on FM in Iraq in the cities of Baghdad, Basra, Mosul, Nasiriyah, Sulaymaniyah and Erbil. The station can also be heard throughout the country on mediumwave (AM). Radio Sawa also broadcasts on FM in Morocco (Rabat, Casablanca, Tangier, Meknes, Marrakesh, Agadir and Fez), Jordan (Amman and Ajlun), Palestinian territories (Ramallah), Kuwait (Kuwait City), Bahrain (Manama), Qatar (Doha), UAE (Abu Dhabi and Dubai), and Djibouti. Radio Sawa broadcasts on mediumwave (AM) to Egypt, Yemen and Sudan. Radio Sawa streams its programming at its all-news website

Contact: Deirdre Kline, Director of Communications of Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc., +1-703-852-9250

Source: Middle East Broadcasting Networks press release, Springfield (Virginia), in English 25 Jan 06


30/01/2006 Afghan paper reports criticism of private TVs for "immoral", "lewd" programmes

Text of report by Haidari, Azizi and Pakiza, "TV broadcasts should be based on our values", published by Afghan state-run newspaper Eslah on 30 January

Our land has its own culture, a culture which has its roots in the depths of all our people's hearts and minds. So, nothing is acceptable for us that upsets these values and the spirit of society. Our reporters asked a number of our compatriots about the broadcasts of independent and national TV, and the decision by the Media Review Commission [to fine private Afghan TV for airing "immoral scenes"].

Sayed Merza Hussain Sahel, chief editor of Kodak [Child] magazine in the general department of kindergartens, said: "Regarding the broadcasts of independent TV stations, we must say that their cultural views and the way they air them is unacceptable. Every country has its own culture and traditions. There is now talk about freedom of expression in our country. We must first define it. Freedom of expression means freedom to express your beliefs, ideology, culture and cultural rights and put them into practice. When our visual media air videos which are against the spirit and morals of the society as well as its ideologies, and then label them as freedom of expression, they defame this term."

He added: "It is really unfortunate that some people mistakenly consider broadcasting immoral videos to be part of freedom of expression and defend it. We can say that the programmes of the independent TV stations are not in line with the morals of families in this Islamic society. Instead, they should broadcast videos that have educational and moral aspects and should entertain the youths, both boys and girls, in such a way that they do not lose their pride. Because, being entertained by such things, they will lose their position in society."

Dr Sharif Selany, acting deputy head of the science department at Indira Gandhi Hospital, expressed his view about TVs broadcasting in Kabul. "I am fond of the news programme of Ariana TV. I do not like the Top 40 programmes of Ariana and Tolo TVs. I am in favour of reforms in TVs. It would be very good if they aired some educational programmes for all age groups. All programmes should be controlled. Films and songs which are not in line with our values should not be broadcast. We should not consider all parts of Afghanistan to be like Kabul. Watching programmes which are not in accordance with the wishes of people in many provinces of our country creates a negative reaction in their minds."

Mohammad Aman, working for the planning department of Azadi Press [government printing press], expressed his view about TV as follows: "I think all TV programmes should be in accordance with Islamic thoughts because we live in an Islamic country and should not act as the West does. All out TV programmes should be educational and religious. They should not air lewd films. They should have educational programmes so that all schoolchildren learn from them."

He added: "For me, the TV which has the best programmes is the national station. All its programmes are well coordinated. Other stations ignore women being naked on screen. So, the commission established to deal with such cases should stop such TVs which broadcast against Islamic teachings."

Abdol Qadir Malool, director of planning at Azadi Press, said: "I think that the films aired by all TVs except the national station are unacceptable. These films are against Islam and are immoral. They are not according to the needs of this Islamic society. They should air films with moral themes that are acceptable for all so that everyone can learn from them. They should show social and educational films so that our youths are not misled. Youths are the future of this country. If the current situation prevails, our children and families will soon lose even what they have. I am not at all in favour of such TVs, which mislead our people. I ask the newly established commission to stop these TVs as soon as possible or the day will come that everyone will be misled."

Source: Eslah, Kabul, in Dari 30 Jan 06 p2


30/01/2006 Al-Jazeera TV says to post "full" Al-Zawahiri video message on website

After airing the almost six-minute video message by Al-Qa'idah second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri and interviews with journalist Abd-al-Bari Atwan and Larry Johnson, former CIA counter-terrorism expert, to comment on the video message, the Al-Jazeera Television presenter at 1817 gmt on 30 January said that "we draw to your attention that we will post the video message in full on"

Monitors have checked and, as of 2000 gmt on 30 January, the Internet site was not observed to post anything other than a short, 250-word report on the video message.

Monitors will continue to check for any additional information on, or material from, the Al-Zawahiri video message.

Source: Al-Jazeera TV, Doha, in Arabic 1818 gmt 30 Jan 06


30/01/2006 Palestinians in West Bank, Gaza Strip protest Danish cartoons on Muhammad

Text of report by Dubai-based news channel Al-Arabiya TV on 30 January

Masked armed men seized control of EU offices in Gaza City for some time before leaving the premises later, to protest the publication by a Danish newspaper of cartoons slandering Prophet Muhammad, may God's peace and blessings be upon him. The armed men stayed outside the premises whose doors remained closed. Denmark is facing wide-spread protests across the Muslim world, particularly in the Middle East.

[This is followed by a report on this story by Zayn al-Fayiz, who says: "Angry and censorious reactions to the publication by a Danish newspaper of cartoons slandering Prophet Muhammad, may God's peace and blessings be upon him, have continued to be seen in all Arab and Muslim countries. In the city of Nablus in the West Bank, Palestinians staged a demonstration to condemn this action in front of the premises of an international observation mission that houses Danish and other European employees. The demonstrators delivered a protest letter to the employees. Meanwhile, Palestinian demonstrators set a Danish flag ablaze in the city of Hebron." Then, a rifle-wielding young man is shown saying: "We urge all Arab and Muslim states to withdraw their ambassadors from the freak Danish entity. We also urge our heroic people to respond to this by boycotting all Danish products."]

Source: Al-Arabiya TV, Dubai, in Arabic 1232 gmt 30 Jan 06

Copyright 2006 Transnational Broadcasting Studies
TBS is published by the
Adham Center for Electronic Journalism, the American University in Cairo and the Middle East Centre, St. Antony's College, University of Oxford, UK