IAA: ARABSAT is responsible for media content of non-compliant Iranian channels

Manama, June 10 (BNA)— The Information Affairs Authority (IAA) criticised a statement made by the Arab Satellite Communications Organization (ARABSAT), which was published in the Arab press, claiming that it doesn't have to interfere with "political and religious discussions".

IAA has affirmed that ARABSAT is responsible for controlling the media content and taking the necessary measures to stop broadcasting non-compliant channels as per ARABSAT agreement, commercial contracts signed with the subscribers, the last resolution of the general assembly as well as Arab and international conventions which all ban inciting sectarianism, hatred, extremism and terrorism.
IAA revealed that ARABSAT's statement contravenes the reality as well as legal obligations and Arab and international experiences given the following facts:
1- The decision taken by IAA to stop broadcasting its TV and radio bouquet became effective on June 1, 2012 to protest ARABSAT executive body's failure to take legal procedures and close the Iranian hostile channels after 15 months of official correspondence and contact substantiated with striking evidences on the Iranian channels' violations.
2- What is being broadcast by the Iranian channels on Bahrain is not merely "political and religious discussions", as alleged by ARABSAT in its statement, but rather media materials against Bahrain and Saudi Arabia aimed at disseminating lies and fallacies to incite sectarianism, hatred, violence, terrorism and shake stability and security in the Gulf countries-something that is completely in breach of the media work ethics.
It is to note that the executive body of ARABSAT has been provided with 30 hours of those conspicuous violations which were condemned by the Arab League Secretary General in an official statement on May 5, 2012 demanding the Iranian government to stop its media escalation campaign and provocative statements.
3- The executive body of ARABSAT is directly concerned and responsible for controlling the media content of TV channels and taking decisive measures in case of any violations as per signed agreements and conventions regulating the media work whereby the executive body has the right to close satellite channels found in breach of the terms and conditions stipulated in the commercial contracts and requiring commitment to objectivity and credibility as well as banning any media material likely to harm the Arab solidarity, encroach on the national sovereignty and incite sectarianism, hatred, violence, terrorism and extremism.
4- The ongoing violations of the Iranian channels via the Arab satellite is unacceptable given the fact that Bahrain and the Gulf countries are among the founding states of ARABSAT and possessing more than 60% of its capital.
Moreover, the organisation's executive body has previously taken decisions to close channels due to their transgression of the rules and regulations by broadcasting indecent material or promoting witchcraft.
5- IAA hails ARABSAT's announcement in its statement to stop broadcasting Al-Alam channel of the Iranian bouquet, expressing hope to keep to this pledge and take the necessary procedures against non-compliant channels.
IAA stresses its support to freedom of expression providing it does not harm or threaten security and stability as per international agreements and covenants.