Arab satellite channels keep increasing
November 3rd, 2010 - 9:53 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.

The number of satellite channels in the Arab region has now reached 733, an international meeting in Tunis heard yesterday. The President of the Arab States Broadcasting Union, Riyadh Najm, said 609 of the channels were private and 124 public. A total of 142 were pay-TV and 591 free-to-air, he told a meeting of the World Broadcasting Unions International Satellite Operations Group (WBU-ISOG). This was in addition to the foreign satellite channels available in the Arab region, he said.

Most satellite channels in the Arab region operated from free-zone media centres in Dubai, Egypt, and Jordan, with no published governance for their operation. Dr Najm said the growth in satellite channels meant viewers were spoiled for choice, but the content of many of the channels was not acceptable, morally or socially. An attempt had been made to agree on a pan-Arab content code for satellite channels, he said, but it had finally been agreed to treat this as voluntary guidelines.

More than 80 people are attending the WBU-ISOG meeting, which brings together broadcasters, satellite operators and broadcast service providers. The meeting, held at least once a year, is organised by the world’s regional broadcasting unions.