Middle East Censorship News

 2018: Jan-March

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 Updated: Severe punishment...

Ofcom fines Al Arabiya News channel from the UAE for broadcasting a prison confession extracted via torture


Link Here 17th February 2018

al arabiya logoAl Arabiya News is an Arabic language news and current affairs channel licensed by Ofcom.

Mr Husain Abdulla complained to Ofcom on behalf of Mr Hassan Mashaima about unfair treatment and unwarranted infringement of privacy in connection with the obtaining of material included in the programme and the programme as broadcast on Al Arabiya News on 27 February 2016.

The programme reported on an attempt made in February and March 2011, by a number of people including the complainant, Mr Hassan Mashiama, to change the governing regime in Bahrain from a Kingdom to a Republic. It included an interview with Mr Mashaima, filmed while he was in prison awaiting a retrial, as he explained the circumstances which had led to his arrest and conviction.

The interview included Mr Mashaima making confessions as to his participation in certain activities. Only approximately three months prior to the date on which Al Arabiya News said the footage was filmed, an official Bahraini Commission of Inquiry had found that similar such confessions had been obtained from individuals, including Mr Mashaima, under torture. During Mr Mashaima's subsequent retrial and appeal, he maintained that his conviction should be overturned, as confessions had been obtained from him under torture.

Ofcom's Decision is that the appropriate sanction should be a financial penalty of 120,000 and that the Licensee should be directed to broadcast a statement of Ofcom's findings, on a date to be determined by Ofcom, and that it should be directed to refrain from broadcasting the material found in breach again.

Update: Closed

6th February 2018. See article from ofcom.org.uk

Ofcom has announced that Al Arabiya News Channel is no longer licensed by Ofcom and hence cannot broadcast to the UK. Presumably this is related to the recent Ofcom fine.

Update: Maybe another reason for the UK closure

17th February 2018.  See  article from menafn.com

Al Arabiya News Channel has surrendered with immediate effect its license with the U.K. broadcasting censor Ofcom, which received a complaint over the channel's involvement in covering the crime of hacking Qatar News Agency (QNA), British law firm Carter-Ruck said.

QNA had hired Carter-Ruck to submit a complaint at Ofcom against Al Arabiya and Sky News Arabia for broadcasting fabricated and false statements attributed to Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani after QNA's website was hacked on May 24, 2017, The four countries of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt used this event to justify the siege that they have been imposing on Qatar since June 5, 2017.

The surrendering of the license by Al Arabiya, a Dubai-based satellite broadcaster owned by Saudi businessmen, was to avoid an an Ofcom investigation.

QNA says Al Arabiya's decision was dictated by the inquiry but the channel says business reasons also influenced the move.

 

 Offsite Article: Ban it, bin it, close it: Lebanon and the growing climate of censorship...


Link Here 11th February 2018  full story: Banned Films in Lebanon...Beirut Hotel
Wonder Woman DVD Background to the Lebanese political censorship of films with a connection to Israel

See article from thearabweekly.com

 

  Bellicose moralism...

A Russian belly dancer is the latest victim of Egypt's morality drive


Link Here 9th February 2018  full story: Music Censorship in Egypt...authorities persecute singers for slightly sexy music videos

jawheera video The Tourism and Antiquities Police have referred a Russian belly dancer Eicatrina Andreeva, who goes by the name Gawhara, to investigations for wearing a 'non-standard' dancing suit A controversy arose over how the ideal dancing suit should look.

According to Act No. 430 of the law on the censorship of literary works, the dancing suit should cover the lower body, with no side slits, and should cover the breast and stomach area.

The Russian dancer was arrested over inciting 'debauchery and arousing young people's sexual instincts', as she appeared in a not particularly sexy dancing video that has gone viral.

Accompanied by a translator during her investigations, Gawhara added that she was wearing a dancing suit no different than those donned by many belly dancers in Egypt.

The Tourism and Antiquities Police stated that Gawhara was wearing a non-standard dancing outfit and was featured in a viral video flaunting her body and pointing to private parts of her body in a racy manner, according to the findings of preliminary investigation previously announced by the prosecution.

 

  Censorship Diktat...

Stage play, Only a dictator is banned in Turkey's major cities


Link Here 30th January 2018
only a dictatorTurkish actor Baris Atay plays a dictator in a one-man show that is intended to get audiences thinking. The play has now been banned in several Turkish cities.

In Ankara, he was personally told not to perform. In addition, the governors of the northern Turkish cities of Artvin and Hopa have officially banned the play. As has Kadikoy, one of Istanbul's largest and most populous districts. It has been claimed that his play could be a threat to public order and security.

Only A Dictator was written by Onur Orhan and is directed by Caner Erdem. Atay plays a dictator who struggles with an inner conflict. After the show, the audience is invited to form its own opinion on dictators.

The play alludes to Turkey's present government under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Supporters of Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) took offense, expressing their anger on social media. Atay said he thinks the decision to ban the play shows how much pressure Turkey's government is willing to exert on critics.

When police prevented the play from being shown in Istanbul last week, Atay alluded to his 2015 statement, asking: Do you accept that this ban means our president is a dictator?

 

 Updated: The distributors go postal...

Steven Spielberg's The Post is unbanned in Lebanon after government minister overrules censors


Link Here 23rd January 2018  full story: Banned Films in Lebanon...Beirut Hotel
v1 ux182 cr00182268 alThe Post is a 2017 USA historical biography by Steven Spielberg.
Starring Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Sarah Paulson. IMDb

A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country's first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between journalist and government. Inspired by true events.

Lebanon has banned Steven Spielberg's newspaper drama The Post a few days before the film is set to premiere in Beirut.

A source involved with The Post's international distribution says the movie was presented to the Lebanese censorship board, which banned it, citing Israel connections that includs Spielberg filming some scenes for Schindler's List in Jerusalem.

The matter has been transferred to Lebanon's Minister of Interior and Municipalities, who could overturn the decision.

A spokesperson for Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment says he cannot comment because the company has not been told officially by the Lebanese distributor that the pic will not be released there because of censorship.

Update: Unbanned

23rd January 2018. See  article from mediafiledc.com

According to Reuters, Interior Minister Nohad Mashnouk has decided to overturn the ban on The Post. Mashnouk saw no obstacle preventing the film from being shown because it has nothing to do with Lebanon or the conflict with the Israeli enemy.

 

 Updated: Suggestive of repression...

Another Egyptian singer is arrested for supposed debauchery in a decidedly unsexy music video


Link Here 21st January 2018  full story: Music Censorship in Egypt...authorities persecute singers for slightly sexy music videos
leila amer video Egyptian authorities have arrested another female singer on charges of incitement to debauchery after her music video sparked controversy.

Leila Amer will be detained for four days while authorities investigate the video to the song Boss Oumek (Look At Your Mother) which includes supposedly suggestive dancing and gestures.

Ahmed Mahran, the lawyer who filed a complaint, argues the video poses a great risk to Egyptian society and especially young people.

Musicians' union president Hany Shaker, a male singer known for his conservative stance, last week announced on the private channel Dream TV that Amer had been expelled from the union, effectively ending her career as a musician.

Update: Another victim

21st January 2018. See  article from freemuse.org

Egyptian female singer and dancer Fatima, popularly known as Eghraa was arrested on 20 December 2017 on charges of inciting debauchery and violating public decency for the viral music video of her song I Want a Man in which she is seen dancing provocatively in revealing clothing, reported Egyptian news sources .

The artist's trial has been adjourned until 23 January 2018. If convicted, she could face up to three years in prison. This is the second time that the singer has been arrested on charges of inciting debauchery and facilitating prostitution,

 

  Propaganda wars...

Iran makes an official complaint that British media is orchestrating the anti-government protests in Iran


Link Here 6th January 2018
Iran flagIran's embassy in London has written an official letter to the UK TV censor Ofcom claiming of bias in Britain's media coverage of the ongoing anti-government protests in Iran.

Ofcom said on Friday that the letter is being carefully evaluated.

Iranian state media says its government is complaining about what it calls a propaganda campaign orchestrated by UK-based Persian-language broadcasters.

The letter claims that the media outlets violated UK and international media regulations and tried to incite protesters into using violent tactics.

In an attempt to shut down protests and manage the unrest, Iran's government blocked access to the encrypted Telegram messaging app and the photo-sharing app Instagram, which now join Facebook and Twitter in being banned.

 

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