Bahrain mulls Arabsat pullout over channel check

April 13, 2012

Bahrain is considering pulling out of Arabsat, the pan-Arab satellite communications organisation, to protest against its “failure to take legal measures to check channels inciting hatred, sectarianism and violence.”

“The failure to take action is a blatant breach of the agreement signed between the two sides and a flagrant violation of professional standards and norms and of international agreements,” said Shaikh Fawaz Bin Mohammad Al Khalifa, the president of the Information Affairs Authority (IAA).

“There are around Iran-backed 40 satellite channels that have antagonistic and sectarian stances against Bahrain in particular and the Gulf states in general. These channels have assumed a suspicious position against Bahrain using lies and baseless allegations and have also launched campaigns to distort the role of the Peninsula Shield,” he said.

The Peninsula Shield is the military arm of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the alliance of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, launched in 1981.

According to Shaikh Fawaz, the international community should take strong legal measures against channels that fuel sectarianism, religious and social hatred, violence and discrimination.

“There should be a global position based on international agreements against those who target international peace and security,” Shaikh Fawaz said.

Arabsat is an Inter-Governmental Organization founded by the Arab League in 1976, with a paid capital of $500 million.

It launched the first of first-generation satellites Arabsat-1A on February 8, 1985. Today, it operates five satellites at three orbital positions and beams hundreds of television and radio channels.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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