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Al-Jazeera says Arab ministers’ charter threatens freedom of expression

BBC Monitoring

Text of press release by Qatar-based satellite TV channel Al-Jazeera on 15 February

Doha, Qatar, 15 February 2008: Al-Jazeera considers the adoption of the charter "Principles for Regulating Satellite TV in the Arab World" issued by the Arab League's ministers of information a risk to the freedom of expression in the Arab world. Some of the language contained within the charter is ambiguous and could be interpreted to actively hinder independent reporting from the region.

Wadah Khanfar, director-general of the Al-Jazeera Network stated that: "Any code of ethics or governance for journalistic practices should emerge, and be governed, from within the profession and not be imposed externally by political institutions. Where codes of ethics are violated and contraventions of journalistic practice occur, for defamation of character or otherwise, there should be independent legal processes to resolve these issues. The region has seen the recent emergence of many media institutions and every attempt should be made not to hamper, but to facilitate, ! an environment to encourage their independence and freedom."

Source: Al-Jazeera press release, Doha, in English 15 Feb 08



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