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Monday, August 25, 2008

MTV's Ramadan

MTV Arabia announced that it will not broadcast music video clips during the holy month of Ramadan, as it might offend its most religious viewers.

The channel will nevertheless keep its Reality TV programs on air. So from MTV's perspective video clips can be offensive but Reality TV programs are cool...funny considering that there are more fatwas issued against Real TV than against video clips...

This is by the way MTV Arabia's first Ramadan.

Friday, August 22, 2008

On Syria's Latest TV Channel

"New Syria TV" started broadcasting this week....
Owned by Abdel Halim Khaddam (former Syrian Vice President, now in exile in France) the channel will broadcast on European Hotbird (probably banned by Arabsat, of which Syria is a member, and NileSat, owned by Egyptian Government)

This is the second Syrian TV channel owned by opponant sto the regime:
ANN (Arab News Network) is owned by Syria's president's fallen out uncle (Rifaat Al Assad). ANN broadcasts from London

and now New SYria TV.

It is interesting to note that both channels are owned by people who at one time where very close to teh ruling Assad family.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Al Jazeera and Samir Quntar

Where is the truth?

After Israel freed Lebanese Samir Quntar (part of the Hezbollah/Israel prisoners and bodies swap), Al Jazeera's bureau in Lebanon organized a party to welcome Quntar (considered by Israel as a criminal, and by Hezbollah as a hero)

Israel responded to this by announcing that it will start imposing visa restrictions on Al Jazeera's staff, as well as it will not help the channel in getting interviews etc.. in Israel. Israel boycotting Al Jazeera!

Israeli daily Haaretz reproted today that Al Jazeera's General Manager Waddah Khanfar sent a letter to Israeli authorities, apologizing for the Quntar welcoming ceremony and pledging to take "administrative measures" against the Beirut bureau...While the Qatari channel's news director was announcing that the channel will never apologize for welcoming Quntar.

This event has to be taken in light of recent changes in the Board of Directors of Al Jazeera: the previous team, considered as anti-US was replaced by a more pro-US members; or at least more neutral directors. But the rank and file (or let's call them the officers) of Al Jazeera still stick to their percieved "pro Arab" stance, which calls for them to welcome Quntar as a hero.

This could explain why while the Board of Directors was apologizing, the rest of the team was still welcoming Quntar. That said, this dual opinion/messages should be to the liking of the Qatari Royal family; after all Qatar has managed a diplomatic expertise in being percieved as both anti and pro US!