Egypt: Concerns with Draft Broadcast Law
ARTICLE 19 and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information have serious concerns with the draft Broadcast Law released by the Egyptian authorities.
A detailed analysis of the draft Law conducted by ARTICLE 19 highlights these concerns, including the fact that the oversight body, the National Audiovisual Broadcasting Regulation Authority, would be controlled by government rather than being independent, as required under international law.
The draft Broadcast Law was released in July 2008 and we understand that the Egyptian government plans to present it to the People’s Assembly in due course.
ARTICLE 19 and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information’s key concerns with the draft Law, in addition to the lack of independence of the Authority, are as follows:
It requires not only broadcasters, but also companies which deal in broadcast equipment, to be licensed.
It allocates broadcasting licences on the basis of the highest bidder, as opposed to public interest approach and fails to recognise community broadcasting as a third type of broadcaster.
It provides for excessive restrictions on broadcasting content.
It fails to set out a framework of rules for regulating ownership concentration and for ensuring competition in the broadcasting sector.
It provides only for heavy penalties, instead of putting in place a graduated system of sanctions for breach of the law, and fails to place appropriate conditions on the imposition of heavy penalties.
ARTICLE 19 and the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information call on the Egyptian authorities to amend the draft Law before putting it to the People’s Assembly so as to rectify these problems and to bring it into line with international standards in this area.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
• The Submission is available in English at: http://www.article19.org/pdfs/analysis/memorandum-on-the-draft-egyptian-broadcast-law.pdf and in Arabic at: http://www.anhri.net/press/2009/pr0216.shtml
• For more information, please contact Toby Mendel, Senior Legal Counsel, ARTICLE 19, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 902 431-3688, or Gamal Eid, Executive Director, Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, email@example.com, 0101936884.• Arabic Network for Human Rights Information is a non for profit institution works on promoting the human rights in Arab World and defending opinion makers and free expression activists in the region.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Support Fitna and its maker Geert Wilders
(Fitna is available in the Internet, anybody can download it.Just use Google search or other search engine, you can see also the other documents and proof how Islam treating non-Islamic people - the horrific bloodshed and genocide. Every miscreation and horrendous attack done by Islam leave recorded/ written marks, these are history. Seeing / viewing history time and again is no offence. Its sheer covert conspiracy by the government support ban, Common people should defend Freedom of Expression )
If we do not hold our head high and straight now it will be too late. Already our tolerance and patience for human rights had given the enemies of Human kind a wrong signal that we , the defenders of Human rights are easily cowered and put in silence. Those People supporting and manipulating terrorism in the name of Islam are marked enemies of mankind. If the Government of different nations and countries and welfare organisations of Human Rights in all nations and countries under any religious faith fail to fight face to face all the covert Islamic terrorists , their covert agents/ representatives and open jihadists very soon the whole world will face bloodshed, genocide. This is my fear originated from the watch and observation from last decades. Those come forward to ban Fitna do they claim the documentary is false? do they promise the islamic terrorism will not happen anymore? What sorts of safety we have to protect ourselves from Islam at large? and their network? All ready Taliban and alquida started killing in middleeast and south Asia. Its a global concern and anxiety.
This is my plea to be bold at the point or border where Freedom of Expression and Human rights are under sacnner and violated. Defend Freedom of Expression at any cost. It is good for liberal Muslims also or Muslim world will go to hell by the cause of Islamic terrorists for whom they blindly and covertly support. In MiddleEast and South Asia where poverty, iliteracy and religious superstitions are the capital for exploitation by religious fanatics.
Like 'Fitna' there are lots and lots documents are available in the internet/ web and private collections of of organisations. Why Fitna is slected? It is sheer conspiracy to show terrorism. The more we avoid and fear the more victory the Islamic fanatics and terrorists count. Have you seen how numerous grass eating animal run in fear when they see one carnivorous animal? Numerous peaceloving people try to avoid any bloodshed, but they are being killed day by day.Avoiding is not answer. The whole world are against the attackers of Freedom of Expression. the surging insult and humiliation to non Islamic nations by Islamic terrorists , organisations is growing like big Bang and awaiting for blast. Do our defenders like UN security councils, Europe and America playing games staking our lives?
My plea to all save this world from bloodshed and defend our open voice through Article 19 ,Universal declaration of Human rights. -- by Respectable.
ARTICLE 19 Calls Upon UK Government to Lift Travel Ban on Dutch MP
ARTICLE 19 considers that the decision of the Secretary of State for the Home Department (the “Secretary of State”) to ban Geert Wilders, a member of the Dutch parliament, from travelling to the UK on the basis that “his statements about Muslims and their beliefs, as expressed in film Fitna and elsewhere, would threaten community harmony and therefore public security in the UK” is in contravention with international and European human rights law on freedom of expression and should be reversed.
In a letter to Mr Wilders dated 10 February 2009, the UK Border Agency on behalf of the Secretary of State states that his “presence in the UK would pose a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat to one of the fundamental interests of society”. Mr Wilders, who will face prosecution in the Netherlands for inciting hatred following the decision of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal last month, was due to attend a screening of his controversial film Fitna in the House of Lords. ARTICLE 19 argues that the decision of the Secretary of State was unjustified and should be reversed for the following reasons:First, in our opinion, the restriction on Mr Wilders’ entry does not meet standards contained in international and European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) law on permissible restrictions to freedom of expression.
Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (“ICCPR”) provides that restrictions on freedom of expression on national security grounds can only be imposed if they “are provided by law and are necessary … for the protection of national security”.
Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”) provides that restrictions on freedom of expression must not only be “prescribed by law” but also must be “necessary in a democratic society … in the interests of national security…public safety, for the prevention of disorder …or for the protection of the rights of others …” amongst other legitimate aims (emphasis added). We question whether Mr Wilders’ presence in the UK really would have posed a threat to public order. Security in and around Parliament might have been shored up for Mr Wilders’ visit had a threat been identified. The restriction was not necessary in a democratic society: there are no convincing and compelling reasons to justify the travel ban to the UK based on Mr Wilders’ statements. Indeed, the democratic values of “pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness” that underpin the system of the ECHR involve the protection of expression even when it is offensive, shocking or disturbing. We also contend that Mr Wilders’ statements do not represent “a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society” as required by section 21 of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006. We argue that this provision must be read compatibly with the criteria for legitimate restrictions on Article 10 ECHR. Second, we acknowledge that limitations on freedom of expression may be imposed in order to protect equality: a restriction to freedom of expression may be imposed to protect “the rights of others” under Article 10 ECHR; and Article 20(2) of the ICCPR requires states to proscribe any “advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence”. However, we believe that the denial of Mr Wilders’ entry into the UK fails to fulfil the criteria for legitimate restrictions on the freedom of expression indicated above. The protection of the right to equal treatment of others could have been achieved through less intrusive means, such as by simply ensuring there was sufficient advocacy on equality issues at or around the time of the showing of the film.
Furthermore, it is our view that permitting Mr Wilders entry into the UK would not have been in contravention of the UK’s obligations under Article 20(2) ICCPR. International human rights law does not oblige states to impose travel restrictions on individuals who have expressed previously racist views or who have produced racist material. The film Fitna does not constitute “incitement” under Article 20 ICCPR, even though it advances a racist point of view. The film, which remains available on the internet to anyone who wishes to view it, was to be shown in the House of Lords rather than a setting (such as a meeting of a racist right-wing group) where it would have been actually possible to stir up racial incitement.Third, Mr Wilders’ exclusion from the UK is not only contrary to ECHR law and the requirements of the ICCPR, but is also counterproductive to the aims of those who oppose Mr Wilders’ views as well as one of the grounds for the exclusion – the protection of “community harmony”. Whilst Mr Wilders’ views as they are expressed in Fitna are clearly offensive to some, the result of the decision of the Secretary of State is to bring a higher level of publicity for his views than had it been the case if he had been permitted to enter the UK, and also and potentially to attract more support for the racist views he advances.
The exclusion will also discourage free debate and open discussion on important issues involving religion, Islam in particular, and is likely to polarise individuals from different religious and ethnic communities in the UK. Had Mr Wilders been allowed into the UK, his views could have been more directly challenged by UK-based equality and human rights advocates and bodies as well as by UK politicians, as part of a broader debate on religion, racism, intolerance and/or the limits of hate speech in Europe. ARTICLE 19's position is that intercultural understanding will bloom and strengthen within a society where speech, even if it is offensive, is permitted, provided it does not amount to incitement to hatred. In such an environment, the voices of political leaders against racist expressions and racism should be heard loud and clear.
FURTHER INFORMATION: • For more information: please contact Sejal Parmar, Senior Legal Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org +44-207-278 9292,