Satellite TV, from Arab Media and Society

By Daoud Kuttab

photo by Kim Badawi.




March, 2008.  There is no doubt that the proliferation of Arabic language satellite stations is causing a lot of waves in the Arab world. Seen innocently, the need for some type of regulatory process makes sense. But the Arab League members with the exception of Lebanon and Qatar were not innocently trying to ban pornography or violent programming from Arabs’ television screens.  Nor is their most recent resolution trying to curtail the content of Arab satellite stations an attempt to create an Arab version of the American FCC.  It is no short of an attempt to control the minds and thoughts of Arab viewers, mostly on political issues.

The Arab League is a voluntary organization of Arab countries that has some moral authority but no binding power. Until recently, the only regular meeting that occurred like a Swiss watch was the meeting of Arab interior ministers. The leaders of Arab intelligence and security forces met regularly to plan and coordinate actions that protected their own regimes as well as the interests of their international allies, most prominently the United States.


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