Liberalised media laws take a step forward

In what can be interpreted as another move towards liberalising media laws in the region, Sheikh Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE Minister of Information and Culture has said that governments can no longer control the flow of information to their citizens, reported the Gulf Times.

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By  Mike Bayman Published  May 4, 2001

In what can be interpreted as another move towards liberalising media laws in the region, Sheikh Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE Minister of Information and Culture has said that governments can no longer control the flow of information to their citizens, reported the Gulf Times.

Speaking at the opening of the Arab Media Summit in Dubai he said: “Out of the globalisation of technology has come the globalisation of information. The government media of the past are dinosaurs with no place in the world of today.” The Sheik’s comments were qualified: “The preservation of the fundamental norms of a society is essential,” he said.
The Jordanian Minister of Information, Dr Taleb Al Rifai, was quoted as saying that, ‘All media facilities in Arab countries are controlled and aimed at protecting the opinion of the regime.’

According to the report he went on to say: ‘Government media has to create direct and open discussion with people, but has instead just thrown out indirect political hints for people to understand what is going on, ignoring the respect that should be given to public thought.
‘Governments should be aware that there is a difference between the national security of a country and the role of the media.’

The conference was also addressed by Ghazi Al Oraidhi, the Lebanese Minister of Information, who spoke about the deficincies of a profit driven media. Focusing on the number of satellite broadcasters based in the country he claimed that issues can be overlooked because of financial imperetives, “There are serious issues that are missed just to meet market demands,” he said.

He later recieved support from Rafeeq Nasrallah, Lebanon correspondent for Abu Dhabi Channel, argued that the private media is controlled by the advertiser and market demands, and accordingly targets instincts rather than public opinion, and fails to cover political, cultural and social issues.

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