Ethical Charter of Honor for Arab Satellite Channels

  • 8 May 2007

Arab media has been crowded with many satellite channels in recent years. This increase has been possible because of the revolution in information and communication technology, which the world is witnessing at present.

The independent platform offered to these satellite channels has had a positive impact for the cause of public freedom. However, this trend has also had its share of adverse and undesirable effects. The proliferation of satellite channels has led to the emergence of sub-standard television channels, along with the more professional and responsible satellite channels. The substandard TV channels usually employ cheap methods to promote themselves and concentrate on airing indecent language and scenes, which denigrates public taste and promotes a consumerist culture. This also projects very negative image of the Arab world internationally, especially to those who are not aware of the cultural and social heritage of the Arabs. Unfortunately, this trend has spread like cancer and facing no resistance its adverse impact has been powerful and sweeping. This is a dangerous development, particularly as satellite channels attract a wide cross-section of the youth.

It is interesting that the proliferation of substandard television channels has upstaged the more decent and sober channels. Similarly, a host of satellite channels have appeared, which in a highly conservative manner, are projecting a distorted view of religion and the customs and traditions of Arab society, which is in no way less dangerous than the culture being broadcast by the substandard satellite channels. This means reduction in the size of moderates in the Arab world and the dominance of extremes on the Arab mind.

Therefore, there is an urgent need to confront the issues posed by satellite channels through effective mechanisms that put an end to their adverse effects, in a way that sets right the course of Arab media, which has been waylaid by the influence of some of the satellite channels.

Therefore, information ministers of Arab countries are requested to make a serious move on this dangerous issue through “A Charter of Honor” that forces these satellite channels to revert to the right path, and to become an asset of the Arab media and not an enemy of it. To help the cabinet accomplish this dangerous mission, other associations should assist it in this effort, including Arab cultural associations that work toward preserving and developing pristine Arab culture.