06/03/2006 Pakistan blocks anti-president, "blasphemous"
Text of report by Ammara Durrani headlined: "Ban on 'blasphemous'
websites; PTA blocks blogs not carrying profane material"
by Pakistani newspaper The News website on 6 March
Karachi: The country's telecom authorities that imposed a
ban last week on websites inviting people to draw blasphemous
caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH [peace be upon him]) have
also blocked several blogs that have no connection with the
A letter issued by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority
(PTA) on 28 February (a copy of which is with The News) had
directed all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country
to block a dozen websites inviting people to draw cartoons of
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). Several of these websites listed in
the letter are based in Europe.
A similar directive was issued by the PTA in an earlier letter
dated 16 February (whose copy is available with The News), asking
all ISPs to block a site, www.thepresidentofpakistan.com, which
supposedly featured abusive material against General Pervez
The banning of one particular website, however, has resulted
in the blocking of all blogs - web journals - accessible to
Pakistani Internet users, The News learnt on Friday [3 March].
On 1 March, bloggers tried logging onto the popular site,
Blogspot.com, only to discover that they could no longer access
the blogs hosted on it.
IT experts said the action might have been "unintentional"
and a result of hastiness, rather than a deliberate attempt
to block the sites.
"In their efficiency, PTA axed the host instead of the
URLs that could easily have been blocked without causing this
problem," said an IT professional working for a Karachi-based
ISP, who requested anonymity.
The blocked blogs could still be accessed by "anonymizers",
a service which allows people to surf sites without being identified,
experts said, hoping that the authorities would take notice
of the situation and rectify it.
"Censorship is an issue, but PTCL should be having a
mechanism to block URLs and not the hosts," said the IT
Meanwhile, bloggers expressed anger and disappointment at
the ban that continued in its sixth day, preventing them from
visiting the blocked online journals.
In messages posted on various mailing lists and websites,
members of Pakistan's Internet community, and even that of India,
were seen talking about the reasons behind the ban.
Chiefs among the theories under discussion were that the ban
was either an attempt by the Pakistan government to quell anti-Bush
sentiments doing the rounds in the blogosphere, or to test and
impend "IT censorship policy".
A Pakistani group calling itself "Pakistani Bloggers
& Friends" launched on Saturday an online campaign
by the name "Don't Block the Blog!" to "support
free speech of Pakistani bloggers and Internet free speech in
"Political pressure groups have protested to the government
to block those websites displaying the controversial cartoon
images of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that were hosted on the net,"
said a statement posted on the group's website.
"But instead of blocking specific sites, ISPs have simply
blacklisted the entire domain, causing thousands of blogs to
be inaccessible for viewing or authoring in Pakistan."
Interestingly, the 28 February directive issued by the PTA
was followed by another directive issued on Thursday by the
Supreme Court to the government to adopt measures for blocking
websites showing "blasphemous" material, and summoning
the authorities concerned on 13 March to explain why such sites
were not blocked earlier, keeping in view the sensitivity of
"We will not accept any excuse or technical objection
on this issue because it relates to the sentiments of the entire
Muslim world," Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry
was reported to have said while hearing two constitutional petitions
seeking the blocking of websites showing "blasphemous"
material on the Internet.
The two petitions were reportedly filed last month by Dr Imran
Uppal through his counsel Qamar Afzal under Article 184(3) of
the Constitution, and by Moulvi Iqbal Haider regarding the registration
of cases under the blasphemy law.
The Federation of Pakistan, the Ministry of Telecommunications,
Pemra, the PTA, Yahoo Incorporation USA and 1&1 Co, the
web host of a "blasphemous" site, through the chairman
of Andreas Ganger were made respondents to the petitions.
No figures are available on the number of bloggers in Pakistan.
The PTA, however, estimates that out of the country's 151 million
population, over two million people in more than 1,900 cities
and towns have access to the Internet.
Currently, two operators, PTCL and FLAG, are providing for
Pakistan's Internet backbone with international bandwidths of
45 mbps and 155 mbps, respectively.
Source: The News website, Islamabad, in English 6 Mar 06
04/03/2006 Saudi Arabia: Fifth TV channel to transmit
Excerpt from report in English by Omer Yousif Ibrahim by Saudi
newspaper Saudi Gazette website on 4 March
Ministry of Information and Culture is planning to overhaul
literary clubs and is in the process of starting a fifth TV
channel to exclusively transmit Shura Council and municipal
Iyad Amin Madani, minister of culture and information, said
that literary clubs will be reorganized with the establishment
of councils in preparation for elections. At present presidents
of literary clubs are appointed.
He made these remarks during a meeting with intellectuals
and men of letters in Jizan.
He also announced that his ministry is in the process of launching
a fifth satellite channel to be fully devoted to the transmission
of the deliberations in the Shura Council and municipal councils.
We virtually intend by launching this channel to acquaint
the public with the performance of these legislative institutions,
He indicated that the ministry would completely change the
current method and pattern of Channel 2 in order to mirror the
real picture of the kingdom, pointing that this channel will
be exclusively for the foreign media.
The ministry is offering free hand to all the cultural institutions
in the country to work and function without intervention in
order to secure a wider space for creativity. Thus the ministry
serves as a referral authority, he said. [Passage omitted]
Source: Saudi Gazette website, Jedda, in English 4 Mar 06
05/03/2006 Afghan daily sees clash of generations in
Text of editorial in English by Afghan state-run newspaper
The Kabul Times on 5 March entitled "The mass media law
guarantees freedom of press"
Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Dr Sayed Makhdum
Rahin distributed the other day letters of thanks among experts
reviewing the draft Mass Media Law.
This liberal law enables every adult national of this country
to set up a radio or TV station or run a newspaper or magazine
providing that he gets registered with the Ministry of Justice
and shows the source of his working capital.
The ministry is actually under heavy pressure by the people
whose majority comprises orthodox Muslims who greatly oppose
the appearance of naked or half-naked female bodies on TV screens
while the sex-starved youth wish to see enough of such images.
And the proprietors of these stations are young or at least
youthful and they know better than anybody else what sort of
films increase the number of their audience and earn them more
The controversy between the proprietors of the Afghan TV Station
and the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism revolved
around what the youth want most and what the elders resent most.
In other words, this is the war between two generations, each
wielding power on its own accord.
Now what to do in this tug of war?
In permissive countries like the UK and US, any TV station
can screen any film with the proviso that it is not libellous
or slanderous, otherwise the station would be in deep trouble.
Therefore, they exercise self-censorship.
In a country that has earned its liberation since 2002 while
the fanatical elements have not abandoned the seats of power
and the mullahs gain more prestige, the young men operating
the mass media should be extra careful.
The publication in a Danish magazine of Prophet Muhammad cartoons
recently led to numerous demonstrations in many parts of the
world which ended in riots and mayhem, resulting in a few deaths
in certain countries.
Though all media are free to use materials of their own choosing,
they have to consider their audience.
Fathers object to screening half-naked films thinking that
these corrupt their children's morals and they cannot send them
elsewhere to watch something educational.
Again, even in advanced societies, films not fit for youngsters
are X-rated which means only adults can watch them. That is
why these films are screened at 2300 or thereafter when the
children are supposed to be asleep.
But our children don't sleep before sending us adults to bed
and they openly or secretly watch the TV, a most attractive
means of entertainment in the lack of all healthy recreations
available in other countries.
It is an extremely tough job to operate a TV station considering
the delicate balance between the conservatives and the liberals.
Each medium has to perform three functions, namely, education,
entertainment and enlightenment. In the US, the FCC [Federal
Communications Commission] takes care of all media and rates
Source: The Kabul Times, Kabul, in English 5 Mar 06
07/03/2006 Kuwait: New satellite channel Al-Risalah
to counter "misconceptions" of Islam
Text of report in English by Saudi newspaper Arab News website
on 7 March
Prince Al-Walid Bin-Talal, CEO of Kingdom Holding Company,
officially launched yesterday an Islamic satellite channel to
project Islam as a religion of moderation and tolerance. Al-Risalah
(The Message) channel had made its debut informally on Wednesday
Addressing a press conference at the headquarters of Kingdom
Holding Company, Prince Al-Walid said the 24-hour channel would
target the Arab audience, especially the youth, by projecting
"our Arab heritage through a modern medium". It will
be the forerunner of an English-language Islamic channel for
the Western audience at a later stage.
Pointing out that the channel would seek to project the true
message of Islam and its teachings, the prince said it would
provide a platform for a dialogue on a range of religious, social
and economic issues that affect everyday life. But more important,
its priority would be to counteract the misconceptions of Islam
in other societies.
Elaborating on Prince Al-Walid's comments, Shura Council member
Walid Hashim told Arab News that the channel would feature cartoons
and animated films with a moral content. These programmes would
be procured from TV companies operating in Turkey and unspecified
Asked if the channel would provide a platform for different
schools of thought, he said that the main objective was to unify
the ranks of the Islamic community, counter the negative perceptions
of Islam and wean the youth away from the path of extremism.
To this end, there would be an assortment of programmes from
Tariq Al-Suwaydan, the channel's general manager, said that
40 per cent of the programmes would be youth oriented, 30 per
cent would target women and families, and 10 per cent would
focus on children.
Noting that the channel was the brainchild of Prince Al-Walid,
Al-Suwaydan, who designed the contents of the programme, said:
"I was delighted with Prince Al-Walid's idea to plan and
launch such a unique channel. This channel represents pure and
moderate Islam and our Arab heritage through a modern medium."
The press conference was attended by members of the Supreme
Advisory Committee of the new channel, including Abdullah Bin-Sulayman
al-Mana'i, Abdullah Umar Nasif and Hamid al-Rifa'i, president
of the International Islamic Forum for Dialogue.
Source: Arab News website, Jedda, in English 7 Mar 06
07/03/2006 Liberian pressmen call for setting up of
media network on small arms
Text of report by independent Liberian Star Radio on 7 March
Senior media editors and practitioners have made several recommendations
to the UNDP [United Nations Development Programme] in the fight
against small arms in the country. The journalists called for
the setting up of a media network on small arms.
The media editors also want the UNDP to sponsor an annual
award programme for the best investigative story on small arms.
They made the recommendations at a one-day workshop held as
part of the Arms for Development Programme.
Source: Star Radio, Monrovia, in English 0700 gmt 7 Mar 06
11/03/2006 Al-Iraqiyah TV director reportedly shot
dead in Baghdad
Text of report by Dubai-based news channel Al-Arabiya TV on
Al-Arabiya Television correspondent in Baghdad has reported
that Amjad Hamid Hasan, director of Al-Iraqiyah Television Channel,
was killed as he was leaving his house this morning in Al-Khadra
district in western Baghdad, at the hands of gunmen who fired
at his car.
The correspondent said that his driver was seriously wounded.
Source: Al-Arabiya TV, Dubai, in Arabic 1907 gmt 11 Mar 06
14/03/2006 Iraqi weekly's chief editor killed in Baghdad
Text of report by Iraqi Al-Sharqiyah TV on 14 March
A source at the Iraqi Journalists' Association announced early
this morning the martyrdom of the Iraqi journalist Muhsin Khudayyir,
also known as Abu Risalah, chief editor of the weekly magazine
Alif Ba. The same source said the martyr was assassinated by
unidentified persons who attacked him late last night in his
place of residence in Al-Ilam district in Baghdad.
This is the third incident of its kind against Iraqi journalists
within one week, after the assassination of Munsif al-Khalidi,
Baghdad TV channel news manager, and Amjad Hamid, Al-Iraqiyah
channel programming manager.
Source: Al-Sharqiyah, Baghdad, in Arabic 0700 gmt 14 Mar 06
11/03/2006 Iraq: Watchdog condemns killing of Al-Iraqiyah
Text of press release by Paris-based organization Reporters
Sans Frontieres (RSF) on 11 March
Reporters Without Borders deplored the murder in Baghdad today
of Amjad Hamid, of the local TV station Al-Iraqiyah, its 11th
journalist to die since fighting began three years ago and the
second TV reporter to be killed in Iraq in the past week.
He had just left his home in central Baghdad on his way to
work when he was shot dead by armed men who blocked his car.
His driver, Anwar Turky, was seriously wounded.
Reporters Without Borders expressed condolences to his family
(he was married with three children). It expressed concern at
the recent wave of violence against journalists and called on
the Iraqi authorities to make every effort to guarantee their
Another reporter, Munsuf Abdallah al-Khaldi, of Baghdad TV,
was murdered on 7 March on the road between Baghdad and the
northern city of Mosul.
Al-Iraqiyah is part of the Iraqi Media Network group, which
is close to the ruling Shiite parties, and has been the media
outlet hardest-hit in the Iraq fighting.
84 journalists have been killed in the three years since the
war began. Only 63 were killed during the entire 20 years (1955-75)
of the Vietnam War.
[The Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV reported that Hamid, a director
of Al-Iraqiyah television, was killed by gunmen in the Al-Khdra
district of Baghdad as he left his home.]
Source: Reporters Sans Frontieres press release, Paris, in
English 11 Mar 06
10/03/2006 Israel: Al-Jazeerah TV may stop Israeli
Arab coverage after Nazareth attack
Text of report by Israeli Arab newspaper Al-Sinnarah on 10
Al-Sinnarah has learned that Al-Jazeera satellite channel
television is exploring the possibility of refraining from sending
crews and broadcast vehicles to cover news in the Israeli Arab
sector following the attack on Al-Jazeera crew during the Church
of Annunciation events. A group of Nazarene citizens assaulted
the Al-Jazeera team, punctured the wheels of its 700,000-dollar
broadcast car, cut its cables, and caused massive damage to
it. Al-Jazeera source said: "Al-Jazeera crews have not
experienced such attacks even when they were covering news on
extreme right-wing settlers."
Source: Al-Sinnarah, Nazareth, in Arabic 10 Mar 06
15/03/2006 Pakistan "bans" private Afghan
TV's broadcasts in Baluchistan
Text of report by Afghan independent Tolo TV on 15 March
[Presenter] The Pakistani authorities have banned Tolo TV
programmes in that country.
The director of Information and Publication Department of
the Pakistani Baluchistan Province has told a news agency that
they have banned Tolo TV programmes for airing anti-Pakistani
However, Afghan officials say the measure shows the strength
of the media and the fear of the Pakistani authorities from
the spread of reports.
[Correspondent] Pajhwok News Agency has reported that the
Pakistani authorities in Quetta have banned an Afghan TV channel
programmes. The director of Information and Publication Department
in Baluchistan says they respect the freedom of media, but cannot
tolerate propaganda against their country.
The Afghan deputy information and culture minister says the
measure by the Pakistani authorities shows media's strength
in reporting and the fear of the Pakistani authorities from
[Sayed Aqa Fazel Sancharaki, deputy information minister]
This shows the strength of the Afghan media in reflecting facts
about relations between the countries of the region and Afghanistan's
relations with its neighbours. It also shows that the Pakistani
authorities are afraid of truth and do not want their people
to know about the reality of Pakistan's relations with Afghanistan.
[Correspondent] An Afghan writer says the decision by the
government of Pakistan highlights the fact that the Pakistani
authorities might have devised a secret plan.
[Rahnaward Zariab, writer] The report does not clarify what
Tolo programmes were against Pakistan. When authorities in a
country make a decision, there is usually a hidden objective
behind the decision. I believe this hidden objective is aimed
at preventing precise reports from reaching the people of Baluchistan,
and in general, the people of Pakistan. This, in fact, shows
the weakness of the local government in Baluchistan and the
government of Pakistan in general.
[Danesh Karokhel, director, Pajhwok News Agency] They have
been airing programmes of their choice [to Afghanistan] over
the last thirty years. The ban on Tolo TV programmes in Quetta
means that the Pakistani authorities want to prevent the Afghan
media from developing. Now the Afghan media has improved and
will inform the people about the truth. The Pakistani authorities
do not want thousands of Afghan refugees living in that country
to know what Pakistani circles do in Afghanistan and what is
actually going on in the country.
Source: Tolo TV, Kabul, in Dari 1330 gmt 15 Mar 06
16/03/2006 Iranian TV news foils US media "plots"
- Esfahan Provincial TV
Text of report by Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Esfahan
Provincial TV on 16 March
During a ceremony today, journalists working for the Esfahan
Centre of the Voice and Vision [Iranian radio and TV organization]
were praised for creating the year's best news department.
In the ceremony, Mr Amu'i, the managing director of the Provincial
News and Information Departments of the Voice and Vision, said
the enemies of Islamic Iran were waging a media war which aimed
to influence public opinion both inside and outside the country.
He said: Using the media as a tool, the enemies intend to adversely
reflect the people of Iran's supreme ideas and thoughts and
display them as though they were quarrelsome and war-mongering.
The managing director of the Provincial News and Information
Departments of the Voice and Vision said the national media
played an important role in confronting the plots hatched by
America and its allies to deprive the people of Iran of civilian
nuclear technology. He said, thanks to its capabilities and
an imaginative workforce, the news departments of the Voice
and Vision reflected the will of the nation to the world and
revealed the deceitful acts of the spiteful media.
Mr Amu'i said preparations were made for the setting up of
some 25 news bureaus throughout the country, and expressed the
hope that the offices would begin working in the coming [Iranian]
year [which begins 20 March].
Mr Kalbasi, the managing director of the Esfahan Centre of
the Voice and Vision, said the year 1384 [20 March 2005-20 March
2006] was a very active and successful year.
The managing director of the Esfahan Centre of the Voice and
Vision said the result of Esfahan TV producers' work in the
current year included five TV serials and three documentaries.
He said: With the allocation of the necessary funds for the
Esfahan Centre and by relying on its active and capable workforce,
the centre would continue the production of documentary films
and TV serials in 1385.
During the ceremony, the chief editors, editors, reporters
and journalists of the News and Information Department of the
Esfahan Centre of the Voice and Vision were praised for their
[Video shows: Editors and journalists being awarded]
Source: Esfahan Provincial TV, Esfahan, in Persian 1300 gmt
16 Mar 06
16/03/2006 Iraq: Al-Baghdadiyah satellite TV channel
Al-Baghdadiyah is an Iraqi satellite channel that began official
transmission on 12 September 2005. Since October 2005, the channel
has been observed to change some of its programming in addition
to its website, www.albaghdadia.com, recently becoming operational.
This survey was conducted between 1 and 18 March 2006.
The website identifies the channel as saying: "In the
overcrowded landscape of transnational broadcasting satellites,
we are not trying to be just another channel to appear, though
at the same time we do not claim to be distinguished as much
as we aim for clarity. Though media today is supposed to play
among others an educational role, a rather negative influence
on the opinion and aesthetical taste of the viewers can be found.
Iraq today is suffering from destruction, environmental pollution
and a serious dilemma at the cultural, political and economic
levels. We, Al-Baghdadiyah Channel will do all we can to contribute
to the improvement of our reality as Iraqis and to do our utmost
to turn the people's sorrow into confidence that the future
will be theirs. In this sense Al-Baghdadiyah will build up its
course in broadcasting. Our belief in the Iraqis' ability to
recover from their suffering is the motivation behind the establishment
of this TV channel. We want Al-Baghdadiyah to act as an access
for Iraqis to the world and vice versa."
In addition the aims of the channel are listed as:
Helping to re-establish a healthy Iraqi society and environment
Emphasizing the Iraqi identity through the cultural and social
Helping to improve and modernize Iraqi society besides respecting
spiritual and social values
Staying up to date with scientific developments worldwide
Improving the aesthetical values of broadcasting
Since the previous survey, it has been observed that the channel
has added a number of new presenters and correspondents, and
has changed the look of the news studio.
Like in the previous survey, the funding of the channel remains
unclear but the indications observed previously of the connection
between Al-Baghdadiyah and Al-Furat newspaper remain strong.
In fact, the channel has been observed to air regularly advertisements
for Al-Furat newspaper.
Arshad Tawfiq is the director-general of the channel. Al-Baghdadiyah's
website includes a statement from Mr Tawfiq.
"In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
"It is my honour to introduce you to a pure Iraqi effort
and a national project which aims to address all Iraqis in a
unified country as they have always been and as they should
"It also honours me that this effort be of free will
in its voice, funding, and its media dialogue. The Iraqis have
fought long for dignity and fought the ugliest forms of tyranny
and oppression and paid a great price for the liberation of
their country and rebuild it as they have dreamed. That is why
no one can confiscate this freedom and that is also why, we
at Al-Baghdadiyah can only be the voice expressing this freedom.
"Al-Baghdadiyah has been distinguished since the day
it was launched, is not dependent on anyone, and is not for
sale. It is for all Iraqis and it is the word of Iraq.
"It is not merely an extra number among other channels;
rather it is in response to a national need, and it knows full
well the clear difference between men of the media and the mercenaries
of the media."
Al-Baghdadiyah TV identifies itself as "an Iraqi effort
for all Iraqis with pure Iraqi funding and great aspiration
to raise the voice of the citizen, his questions and concerns.
We are with Iraqis in their refusal of past dictatorship and
the occupation because we are their true voice."
The channel seems to put an emphasis on keeping people informed
as its newscasts, specifically the 1900 gmt "Today in an
Hour", are very detailed and cover all aspects of Iraqi
and international news, specifically the security developments.
In addition the channel has been observed to conduct its own
polls with the "man on the street" on different issues
arising in Iraq and has even conducted polls as to the people's
opinions in the channel's performance concerning certain incidents.
The channel, within its newscasts has been observed to include
reports, which it calls "Al-Baghdadiyah's Opinion"
on several issues and incidents in Iraq. Most, if not all, of
the reports lay the blame for whatever incident is being discussed
on the US "occupation."
The channel's stance against "the occupation" has
become more evident as, in addition to its negative reporting
in its newscasts, the channel's talk shows often deal with the
negative effect of the "occupation" on Iraq.
The channel has recently been observed to carry live a number
of events such as the trial of former Iraqi President Saddam
Husayn and his co-defendants, the Samarra bombing aftermath,
and numerous news conferences. In addition the channel was observed
to show "exclusive" footage and images relating to
several stories including the Samarra bombings.
Since it was last surveyed in October 2005, the news on Al-Baghdadiyah
has also changed in that the channel now conducts phone interviews
with officials and analysts. The channel has also been observed
to include phone-ins that allow viewers to participate in programmes.
Al-Baghdadiyah was observed to continue along its path of
promoting national unity, especially during and following the
Samarra bombings. During this period the channel was observed
to call on all Iraqis to unite and not allow "the occupier"
to succeed in dividing the Iraqi people. The channel also interviewed
officials of all sects during this period.
The channel was also observed to interrupt its regular programming
to cover issues of importance such as the day of the Samarra
bombing and the official three days of mourning in which the
channel dealt solely with this story. The channel was also observed
to place a black mourning ribbon across the screen throughout
the mourning period following the bombing.
Al-Sahafa [The Press]: A daily programme carried at 1545 gmt.
It presents the main issues in the local, Arabic and, international
papers and deals with political, economic, cultural, and sport
related articles. The addition to this programme was the Arabic
and international press as at the time of the first survey,
the programme only dealt with Iraqi press. The Iraqi press is
read from the studios in Iraq by the two former presenters,
Jumana Zuhair and Su'd al-Shammari, while the Arabic and international
press is read from the Cairo studios by Mahdi Jasim
Al-Mukhtasar [The Gist]: "Opinions, questions, and confrontations
in the issues of politics and life. A programme that sheds light
on the backgrounds of situations and events with the political,
cultural, and social elite. An attempt, through honest dialogue
and free discloser, to get closer to the truth about what is
happening and the soundness of what is being said." The
programme is broadcast on Thursdays at 1700 gmt and repeated
at 1000 gmt on Fridays and at 2200 gmt on Sundays.
Ma Lam Yuktab [What has Not Been Written]: "A programme
that hosts an important political figure, ex-ministers or official
in Iraq. The host asks questions that clarify what the viewers
never knew and was not written down in history when he was in
office. He discusses his relationship with rulers or the president
who reigned at the time." The programme is aired at 1700
gmt on Wednesdays and repeated at 1000 gmt on Thursdays and
at 2200 gmt on Saturdays.
Hiwar Al-Turshan [The Talk of the Deaf]: A sarcastic criticism
of many issues, including the opening which speaks of the suffering
of the Iraqi people, in addition to a caricature portion that
deals with what the newspapers publish. The programme also includes
a comedy segment called "Advertisement" that deals
with an issue in a comic way. The programme is aired at 1700
gmt on Mondays and repeated at 1000 gmt on Tuesdays.
Ard al-Sawad [The Dark Land ]: A programme presented by Baqir
Yasin, a leading advocate of the "Region of the South",
who tells of political stories from the Umayyad era until the
fall of the former regime. The programme is aired at 1700 gmt
on Sundays and repeated at 1000 gmt on Mondays.
Sijal [Debate]: A weekly programme that discusses the latest
issues concerning Iraqis politically. It hosts two guests usually
of opposing views so the viewer may see both sides of the coin.
The programme is aired at 1700 gmt on Tuesdays and repeated
at 1000 gmt on Wednesdays and at 2200 gmt on Thursdays.
Akhir al-Usbu [The End of the Week]: A weekly programme aired
at 1550 on Fridays that recaps the most important stories of
the week analysing them and elaborating on other aspects of
Nus Akmas [Camera Shoots]: A daily black comedy programme
that deals with the sad situation of Iraqis under the occupation
and interim government, such as shortage of fuel and water,
lack of services, corruption, and much more. The programme is
a series of clips dealing with one of the issues in a comedic
manner. The programme airs at 1515 gmt and is repeated at 2430
Social and domestic:
Al-Minassah [The Platform]: A programme that hosts officials
of different fields and those responsible for the service sectors
to discuss the poor conditions of services from which the citizens
live under, by asking straightforward questions, be they from
the host or the participants in the show, journalists and citizens.
The programme is aired at 1700 gmt on Saturdays and repeated
at 1000 gmt on Sundays.
Dunya Shahrazad [Shahrazad's World]: A TV magazine dealing
with a number of issues such as health, fashion, cooking, beauty
tips and much more. The programme is broadcast on Saturdays,
Tuesdays, and Thursdays at 1315 gmt. Each episode is repeated
at 0715 gmt on Sundays, Mondays, and Fridays.
Al-In al-Ukhra [The Other Eye]: A programme carried at 1415
gmt on Sundays, presented by Ru'a al-Bazirkan. It hosts various
guests to discuss controversial social issues such as magic,
superstitions, hypnosis, and exorcisms. The programme is repeated
at 0715 on Mondays and at 2400 gmt on Tuesdays.
Al-Mansiyun [The Forgotten]: A programme carried at 2000 gmt
on Sundays, interviews figures who were once well known but
have now been forgotten as they have grown older and people
have become oblivious to them.
Salun al-Baghdadiyah [Al-Baghdadiyah's Salon]: A programme
carried on Tuesdays at 2000 gmt and repeated on Saturdays at
1000 gmt, hosts figures from various fields of Iraqi society.
Maraya [Mirrors]: A programme dealing with artists of different
fields in Iraq and their latest achievements. The programme
is aired on Sundays at 1210 gmt. It is repeated at 0815 gmt
on Mondays and 2030 on Wednesdays.
Shabab Chat [The Youth Chat]: This is a programme that provides
a platform for the youth to speak. It deals with a number of
issues that the youth are interested in such as movies and television.
It also deals with concerns providing a place for them to speak
out. The programme is aired at 1700 gmt on Fridays and repeated
on Mondays at 1315 gmt and 0715 gmt on Tuesdays.
Shifa Lima Fe al-Sudur [Healing the Diseases in Your Hearts]:
A religious call in programme through which viewers call and
inquire on how to deal with certain problems from an Islamic
point of view, what the Koran says must be done to cure "ailments
of the heart." The programme is aired at 1415 on Fridays
and repeated 0500 gmt on Saturdays.
There are no economic programmes on Al-Baghdadiyah.
The channel carries a number of Iraqi and Egyptian series,
plays, children's programmes, documentaries and songs.
The channel was observed to continuously carry "Breaking
News" captions as stories develop.
1100 -1115 gmt
1500 -1515 gmt
1900 -2000 gmt
2300 -2315 gmt
0100 -0115 gmt
0700 -0715 gmt
1300 -1310 gmt
2100 -2110 gmt
0900 -0915 gmt
Al-Baghdadiyah was observed to carry an English newscast as
from 29 January 2006 but has since stopped this, without explanation.
The last English language cast was aired on 1 March at 0100
gmt. The English newscast, during the period it was aired, was
observed to be a translation of the Arabic cast to the point
where the video reports were aired in Arabic with subtitles,
although towards the last few days the subtitles were exchanged
for a voiceover.
The channel has been observed to show a trailer for a new
programme "The Occupation of Iraq." According to the
trailer, the programme will deal with issues and secrets that
have not been dealt with before concerning the "occupation."
The trailer says: "The occupation of Iraq. Two words that
do history justice. On the Iraqi borders, the world struck the
deal for war. Over Baghdad destruction shook the cloak of the
black night. The Airport Battle was one of the most important
definitive battles. Facts that have not yet been exposed and
secrets that were meant to remain secrets." On screen:
"The Occupation of Iraq... Soon on Al-Baghdadiyah."
The channel's website also lists a number of coming shows
on Al-Baghdadiyah including:
"Amazing Scientific Pictures"
"The Mysteries of the Universe"
"Real Events and Facts"
"Stranger Than the Imagination"
"Creatures under Water"
"Make Us Laugh"
Al-Baghdadiyah remains primarily an entertainment and news
channel, but the change in programming and the look of the channel
show that the channel is evolving and working to achieve a more
professional look perhaps to appeal to a wider viewer base.
A search of the internet uncovered that http://www.jumptv.com/
provides live streaming of Al-Baghdadiyah TV to subscribers.
The website has a footnote on Al-Baghdadiyah: "We do our
utmost to bring down tragedy to sadness and then we bring down
sadness to joy so that the Iraqi nation, our nation can return
to us in one piece and so that our people will return to it
with compassion. That is the mark of Al-Baghdadiyah in its programming
and its goal in the satellite world and in reality. Al-Baghdadiyah
is Iraq's window to the world and the world's window to Iraq."
Frequency: 11919 MHz; Polarization: horizontal; Symbol rate:
27500; FEC: 3/4
Frequency: 12380 MHz; Polarization: vertical; Symbol rate:
27500; FEC: 3/4
Source: BBC Monitoring research 16 Mar 06
19/03/2006 Afghan politician says Pakistan's TV ban sign of
Text of report by Iranian radio from Mashhad on 19 March
[Presenter] Dear listeners, as you heard in the news bulletin,
in an interview with my colleague Mr Sayed Eshaq Delju, an Afghan
politician, has criticized the Pakistani government for banning
the broadcasts of leading Afghan TV channels in Baluchistan.
He said the decision went against international principles and
urged the international media to condemn such acts. Here now
is the interview in full:
[Interviewee] The Pakistani government's recent act of banning
Afghan television broadcasts shows the weakness and helplessness
of Pakistani officials when it comes to dealing with affairs
in their own country. There is no justification for the decision
taken by Pakistani officials. In fact, they have claimed that
these television channels had failed to obtain legal permission
for their broadcasts from officials in Pakistan. However, I
would like to clarify that Pakistani TV channels are being broadcast
through cable systems in Afghanistan without any restrictions.
[Correspondent] Do you think there is a specific reason for
the Pakistani officials' decision?
[Interviewee] I think the Pakistani government does not want
its wrongdoings to be heard and seen by people in Pakistan and
Afghanistan, in particular in the tribal areas of Pakistan.
Moreover, tension between the two countries has recently heightened
following the recent remarks by the Pakistani president, who
criticized President Karzai for having no control over affairs
in his country. Following that, the ban on broadcasts as well
as the way Afghan refugees are being forced out of Pakistan
can be viewed as negative reactions by the Pakistani government.
In fact, Pakistan feels that the recent unrest in its tribal
areas is being caused by Afghanistan and it is no longer in
favour of strengthening friendly ties with the government of
[Correspondent] What do you think about the impact of such
acts on relations between the two countries? Do you not think
that such acts may cause a deterioration in the friendly relations
between these two Islamic countries?
[Interviewee] Well, it is difficult to comment on the impact
of such acts. However, it is obvious to all that mutual cooperation
between the two countries not only helps security in Afghanistan
and Pakistan but also affects overall security in the region
and the world. As a result, I believe that instead of taking
intimidating actions against each other the two countries should
think of a way to get rid of terrorists in their countries.
That is not possible unless there is close coordination and
[Correspondent] Thank you for your time.
Source: Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mashhad, in
Dari 1330 gmt 19 Mar
WEST BANK & GAZA
24/03/2006 Masked armed men storm Al-Ru'ah TV offices
in Bethlehem, destroy equipment
Excerpt from report by Najib Farraj entitled "Unknown
armed men storm Al-Ru'ah TV offices and destroy all equipment"
published by Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds on 24 March
Early morning on Thursday [23 March], unknown armed men stormed
Al-Ru'ah TV offices in Al-Dawhah near Bethlehem. The incident
took place around 03:30 [local time] when an unknown number
of armed men, with black masks on their faces, stormed the offices
after breaking the main door. They entered a small room where
the employee in charge of broadcasting went to bed less than
half an hour earlier. The men destroyed the transmission equipment,
television sets, computers and everything else they could reach,
using rifle butts and sharp tools. The damage was described
as serious and caused total disruption of transmission.
A Palestinian police force, the criminal investigation police
and another force from the institutions' security apparatus
affiliated with the Preventive Security arrived at the scene.
They heard a detailed report on what happened. Bethlehem Governor
Maj-Gen Salah al-Ta'mari also visited the TV offices. He denounced
the incident and considered it not only an attack against Al-Ru'ah
TV offices and employees, but also an attack against every honest
citizen and the freedom of expression. He described the incident
as an act alien to our people, their manners, customs and rules
of conduct. [Passage omitted]
Journalist Muhammad Manasrah described the attack as a primitive
method that cannot result in silencing the voice of Al-Ru'ah
in defending people's causes. Journalist Hasan Abd-al-Jawad,
member of the Palestinian Journalists' Association Administrative
Board, described the attack as a condemned crime and a rejected
method that aims to silence the free and courageous voice of
Na'im al-Tubasi, head of the Palestinian Journalists' Association,
condemned the attack against Al-Ru'ah and said that the association
would not keep silent at such attacks. He added: "While
the various mass media face an Israeli aggressive campaign,
we find that a dissident group that does not share the morality
of our people goes after the Palestinian press in favour of
the Israeli entity and its plans."
The Journalists' Association also called for a sit-in at 10:00
on Friday [24 March] in the Church of the Nativity Square to
protest the attack. [Passage omitted]
Source: Al-Quds, Jerusalem, in Arabic 24 Mar 06
25/03/2006 Afghan private TV resumes covering president's
Excerpt from report by Afghan independent Aina TV on 25 March
[Presenter] In addition, it is worth noting that [Afghan President]
Hamed Karzai is ready to make an apology to Aina TV. Therefore,
Aina TV has started covering his activities again. [Aina TV
suspended covering events involving the president a few weeks
ago because of a row between Aina staff and that of the presidential
office. Aina reporters said that they were excluded from presidential
press briefings and visits and only sympathetic journalists
were invited, a claim denied by the presidential office.]
This step was taken following an agreement between Aina TV
and the office of the president. [Passage omitted: details about
Afghan President Hamed Karzai's participation in an international
symposium in Turkey on "Global Terrorism and International
Cooperation against Terrorism".]
Source: Aina TV, Sheberghan, in Dari 1530 gmt 25 Mar 06
24/03/2006 Qatar: Al-Jazeera director-general interviewed
on new structure, priorities
Text of report by Qatari Aljazeera.net website on 24 March
Waddah Khanfar, director of Al-Jazeera Satellite Network,
has stated that the establishment of Al-Jazeera Network, announced
a few months ago, will complement the administrative, technical
and editorial integration of all Al-Jazeera channels and assist
the organization in choosing its options regarding its economic
and financial future.
Khanfar, who has been recently appointed to this post, will
continue to serve as director-general of Al-Jazeera Arabic Channel.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Al-Jazeera Net, he denied
that the launching of an English speaking channel is meant to
alleviate the pressure applied by the US administration on the
network to change its editorial policy.
He emphasized that the launching of the new channel is a natural
development to expand and broaden Al-Jazeera institutions technically
The director-general of Al-Jazeera Network noted that Al-Jazeera
will provide a qualitative contribution to the enormous information
revolution and that it seeks to play an internationally pioneering
role and reinforce its distinguished role in the Arab world
and the developing nations.
The following is the text of the interview:
[Question] What are the goals intended from establishing Al-Jazeera
[Khanfar] Al-Jazeera is no longer a news channel beamed to
the Arabic-speaking audience. With the launching soon of the
English and documentary channels, in addition to the two existing
sports channels, it is natural for all these channels as well
as the websites to come under a single network. This is necessary
to enhance the integration among these institutions in view
of the diversity of their interests and the broad geographic
regions that they cover. It will also help reduce the cost and
upgrade the level of effectiveness and performance.
There is no question that the new organization will consolidate
the role of each of the affiliated institutions and, consequently,
strengthen the overall network. It will also contribute to providing
integrated services to the public and increase the network's
chances of generating more revenues and achieving profitability.
So, the goals behind this move are diverse. They are administrative,
organizational, economic, financial, editorial and professional
[Question] As director of the new network, what are your management
[Khanfar] The topmost priority is to strengthen the network's
institutional infrastructure. This can be achieved through dialogue
with the directors of the channels to establish new administrative
structures for them.
The second priority is to increase the editorial understanding
and exchange experience and ideas through the appropriate mechanisms
among the various channels, which include a large number of
qualified and experienced personnel that have given Al-Jazeera
its name as a leading news channels and that are expected to
push the other channels to a new horizon of progress and advance.
While acknowledging that the English-language channel that
addresses a different audience will have editorial priorities
that are different from those of the Arabic channel, we stress
that the news spirit will be the same and that a framework of
harmony will be created.
Like the Arabic channel, the English channel will have the
right to draft and develop its own policies that suit the nature
of its audience.
The third priority is that the establishment of the network
will be helpful in deciding upon the options related to its
financial and economic future by increasing revenues and reducing
costs. It will be helpful in achieving full self-sufficiency.
[Question] You focused on the Al-Jazeera's economic and financial
future. Could you elaborate further on this point?
[Khanfar] Let us talk about advertisements, for instance.
As is known, commercials, which represent the biggest source
of income for satellite channels, are limited on Al-Jazeera
despite the widespread presence of the channel, which qualifies
it to achieve huge revenues.
However, in the Arab world advertisement to a large extent
has political dimensions and many countries in the region impose
restrictions on the advertisers and prevent them from placing
their ads on certain channels. This has had a direct impact
This requires a study of the options and alternatives available
for the network to become profitable.
In the light of the accumulated administrative and technical
experience, one of the options that we are working on is to
use the name of Al-Jazeera as a registered trademark in advertisement,
production and other tracks.
As an institution with a solid technical and administrative
infrastructure and a longstanding experience, Al-Jazeera is
in a position to benefit from the good reputation it enjoys.
[Question] How will your new post affect your role as director-general
of the Arabic channel?
[Khanfar] Al-Jazeera Arabic channel has become a well-established
name with its administrative and professional experience. The
newsroom, for instance, enjoys a 10-year experience and is widely
recognized for its competence. This will encourage me to delegate
more powers so that the channel could work more effectively
while abiding by the general policies set by the network.
[Question] Some people say that the establishment of the English
channel is intended to alleviate the pressure applied by the
US administration on Al-Jazeera to change its editorial policy,
particularly towards Iraq and Palestine.
[Khanfar] This is absolutely not true. The launching of the
English channel is a natural development to broaden and expand
the Al-Jazeera institution in the technical and geographical
domains. It comes as a natural response to the language needs
The English channel has announced its goals and editorial
policies, saying that it abides by the network's general spirit
and the journalistic code of ethics to which all the network's
journalists are committed. The English channel will operate
a newsroom that covers the important geographic regions of Asia,
America and Africa.
It is true that we have come under a series of clear and explicit
criticism, which cannot be hidden or denied. It is known that
politicians in the world try to impose their vision of the events
on the media and steer the media to serve their political goals
and objectives, but despite this Al-Jazeera has continued its
editorial style that is committed to the firm principles of
journalism and the code of professional honour that it has announced.
[Question] Despite this, do you believe that the launching
of the English channel will ultimately alleviate this pressure?
[Khanfar] Undoubtedly this channel will lead to a broader
and deeper understanding of events and developments for non-Arabic
viewers. Al-Jazeera, which has offered a highly ethical, professional
and committed style of media, will attract a broad and massive
audience of viewers.
The pressure applied against the media is politically, and
not professionally, motivated. Therefore, commitment to professionalism
may not achieve the required change in the position of these
politicians, who do not care about professionalism as much as
they care about their own political interests and considerations.
[Question] Will the priority of the English channel be to
address the Islamic audience in the West and the rest of the
world or the Western audience in general?
[Khanfar] Both are of equal priority for us. We have taken
into consideration the time difference among the various continents.
There will be a newsroom in Kuala Lumpur that will beam newscasts
for the Asian audience. This newsroom will be different from
the newsrooms in London or Washington, which will take into
account the different time zones of these regions. The English
channel will also give attention to Africa.
The new channel will seek to reach out to viewers in many
parts of the world to complement the work of the Arabic channel.
[Question] What addition could the English channel offer to
the Western media?
[Khanfar] The Western media needs a new perspective different
from what already exists, particularly since this media has
become monotonous and focused on specific cultural understanding
of the world events.
The arena in the West is wide open to whatever is new and
outstanding in this regard, particularly since Al-Jazeera has
always offered a comprehensive and in-depth coverage of the
news with a perspective that goes beyond the news to offer bold
and in-depth analysis.
Undoubtedly Al-Jazeera will be an addition to the huge information
revolution. It seeks to establish a pioneering international
role that augments its distinguished role in the Arab world
and the developing nations.
Source: Aljazeera.net website, Doha, in Arabic 24 Mar 06