Satellite television channels should be regulated in the Arab world because they have caused havoc among people, a leading broadcaster has reportedly said.
Speaking at the Asia Media Summit in Jeddah, Salaheddine Maaoui, director general of the Arab States Broadcasting Union, said there were nearly 1,300 channels in the Arab world “broadcasting all kinds of stuff resulting in chaos and confusion”, Arab News reported.
“Only 15 percent of these channels are owned by the government, the rest belong to private citizens. Anyone who has the money can set the agenda of a channel. There are no checks and balances, the government has little control over these channels.”
Maaoui, who did not name any specific satellite television providers, said satellite stations had mushroomed over the past two decades, however he acknowledged Arabs now had more freedom of expression and greater variety.
“However, the flipside of it is that there is no control, there is no legislation to govern them,” he said.
He said there were regulations in other parts of the world to keep check on spurious content being broadcast.
“In the Arab world, we have no regulations, this is our weakness,” he said. “We should have unified Arab standards to monitor what is aired on satellite television channels.”
He said previous attempts by the Arab League to introduce broad rules had failed because the implementation was left to individual countries.
He rejected suggestions he was calling for media suppression, saying rather it was about “airing of better and credible information for the general good of society”.