- About Us
- Regulatory Authority
- National Programs
- Digital Society
- News & Events
Broadcast Satellite Regulation Considered
ictQATAR Secretary General Discusses Satellite Broadcast Regulation
Satellite media broadcast regulation is a serious and challenging issue facing the Gulf region, and it will require new thinking and the involvement of various stakeholders to tackle the issue effectively, according to Dr. Hessa Al Jaber, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR).
"Ready access to some ideas and images, especially those broadcast into people's homes, via broadcast satellites can offend social and cultural values. Satellite regulation is an especially complex issue in the Middle East because politics, religion and culture are so intertwined in the region. With the number of satellite channels available in our homes multiplying, an effort must be made to protect our families," said Al Jaber.
The Secretary General shared her thoughts at a forum held in Doha addressing satellite channels and the ethical challenges they present for the Gulf region. The two-day forum , November 2 and 3, was held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser al Missned, Chairerson of the Supreme Council of Family Affairs. It included presentations from regional and international experts in the field of media and content regulation and tackled the issue from legal, economic, social and educational perspectives.
As the head of Qatar's telecommunications regulatory body, Al Jaber felt that government institutions should play a role in the regulation of satellite, but recommended putting a greater emphasis on enabling providers and consumers to better self-regulate content with government restrictions serving as a last resort. She noted that what is considered offensive or inappropriate is subjective, and since satellite crosses international boundaries, it would be nearly impossible to completely regulate content.
"International best practices towards satellite broadcasting vary in approaches from light-touch, self-regulation, to imposed laws and authority regulation. It is my opinion that viewers must play an important role by being responsible for their own choices in what they watch and what they allow their children to watch. In the end, replacing traditional censorship with a more enabling framework will produce a more sustainable event," said Al Jaber.
The forum was held in response to H.H. Sheikha Mozah's call to action at the GCC Leader's Conference held last year in Doha to protect children in the region from the variety of harmful materials being communicated over satellite waves and other modern forms of communication. In a letter presented to the leaders at the Summit, Her Highness said "The protection of our youth in the Arab world is the responsibility of us all, whether the government or private institution. Without prejudice to freedom of the media, our nations must adopt clear policies and apply both legal and legislative mans to address this issue (satellite regulation).
To view Dr. Al Jaber's presentation in PDF format, follow this link.
Watch the Video: Dr. Hessa's Remarks at the forum