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ASBU head calls for satellite TV regulation in MENA

A plea for regulation of satellite TV in the Middle East and North Africa has been made by the Director General of the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU).

Speaking at the opening of the AIBD Asia Media Summit in Jeddah, Salaheddine Maaoui said there are nearly 1,300 TV channels in the Arab world, “broadcasting all kind of stuff resulting in chaos and confusion”, according to Arab News.

“Only 15% 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,” he said.

Although acknowledging the positive aspect of greater freedom of expression, Maaoui said the flipside is that there is no control, as there is no legislation to govern them, Rapid TV News reports.

Regulations in other part of the world ensure that spurious content is not broadcast, he said. “In the Arab world, we have no regulations. This is our weakness … we should have unified Arab standards to monitor what is aired on satellite television channels.”

Maaoui stressed that government control was not the answer, but instead that media ethics should be adhered to in the region.

“We are not calling for suppressing information. We are calling for airing of better and credible information for the general good of society,” he said.