[FoME] Book "Public Service Broadcasting in the MENA region, Potential for Reform"

Christoph Dietz Christoph.Dietz at CAMECO.ORG
Do Sep 20 16:30:15 CEST 2012

It's with great pleasure that the Institut Panos Paris is proud to
announce the publication of the regional report "Public Service
Broadcasting in the MENA region, Potential for Reform". 

In the Arab world public television broadcasters are part of the
Establishment and one can therefore infer the extent of authoritarian
intervention or, alternatively, of progress towards democracy from the
content of their programmes. Between modest attempts to open up to the
expression of political diversity on the one hand and the cult of the
personality showing the Head of State in every news bulletin on the
other, the output of Arab State broadcasters has always been the focus
of comments. Yet for a long time television viewers and media analysts
have been content with criticizing the backwardness of national
television channels without trying to induce change in their
It remains to be seen whether the recent popular upheavals in the Arab
countries will eventually mark the end of the practice of broadcasting
in the service of paymasters.

The present study is a review of the mission of public service
broadcasting in eight countries of the Middle East and North Africa. It
examines the books of specifications and the legal frameworks that
regulate public broadcasting as well as it looks into the means made
available to implement it. Furthermore it analyses segments of the
programmes to assess the extent to which national television channels
actually deliver a mission of public service. The present book
represents the synthesis of research work conducted by NGOs and
associate experts to the Institut PANOS Paris and to the Observatoire
méditerranéen de la communication in all of Algeria, Egypt, Jordan,
Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and

The outcome of this research varies greatly from country to country,
whereas in some cases the failure to deliver a mission of public service
is obvious, there are also examples of programming that indicate
attempts to make some headway towards the ideals of public service
broadcasting. The participants in this research have been able to
identify the mechanisms set up by the powers that be to create the
illusion of political pluralism and diversity of content. At the same
time in a few rare cases the politicians have foreseen the need to
launch a process of opening up to national television programmes
offering greater diversity and better quality.

Over and beyond the mere stating of findings the present book aims at
raising the awareness of all stakeholders to the importance of the
mission of public service broadcasting at a moment when major political
changes are happening. It offers numerous recommendations that aim at
supporting the reform of public broadcasting in order to foster the
democratic process.

This collective work is geared towards journalists and media
professionals who are willing to take a fresh look at the practice of
journalism and to engage with the production of quality content for
television broadcast. It is calling upon political decision makers who
are ready to take the opportunity of political change and to foster a
mission of public broadcasting. Last but not least it offers NGOs
engaged in the media sector and citizens in general the possibility to
gain a better understanding of the vital role of public media.

This publication of the Institut PANOS Paris and of the OMEC is
available as a print and an online version in both French and English. 

Contact Magalie Nam Hee
communication at panosparis.org

The production of the present book has been made possible thanks to the
support of Irish Aid, Agencia catalana de cooperacion y desarrollo
(ACCD) and Open Society Foundation.

Ammannet, Arab Internet Media (AMIN), Centre for Media Freedom Middle
East and North Africa (CMF MENA), Ligue algérienne de défense des droits
de l’homme (LADDH) and Maharat Foundation were all partners to the
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