Russian parliament to discuss ban on access for US media

Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier signed a law allowing the Russian authorities to designate some foreign media as “foreign agents.” (AFP)
Updated 01 December 2017
0

Russian parliament to discuss ban on access for US media

MOSCOW: Russian lawmakers are to discuss a proposal to bar representatives of US media organizations from accessing the lower house of parliament, RIA news agency quoted the chair of one of the chamber’s committees as saying.
Olga Savastyanova, who chairs the chamber’s rules and regulations committee, said her committee would consider a resolution containing the proposal next Monday. It would be put forward for approval of the chamber, known as the State Duma, on Tuesday or Wednesday, according to RIA.
“It’s a ban on journalists who represent American media, all American media, visiting the State Duma,” RIA quoted Savastyanova as saying. She represents the ruling United Russia party, which holds a majority of the seats in the chamber.
US authorities have designated Kremlin-funded broadcaster RT as a “foreign agent,” after intelligence officials alleged it tried to meddle in the US presidential election last year. RT denies that.
The Kremlin has pledged to retaliate in kind. At the weekend, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law allowing the Russian authorities to designate some foreign media as “foreign agents.”
The move to deny US journalists access to the State Duma was a response to a similar move in Washington, RIA quoted Savastyanova as saying.
RT on Wednesday night published a letter from the Executive Committee of the Congressional Radio And Television Correspondents Gallery saying the channel’s Congressional press credentials had been withdrawn due to its registration as a foreign agent in the US.
That means RT’s reporters will not be able to have as much access to Congress as other foreign media.


Saudi Arabia ‘has a case’ in complaint over World Cup ‘politicization’ by Qatar’s BeIN

Updated 19 June 2018
0

Saudi Arabia ‘has a case’ in complaint over World Cup ‘politicization’ by Qatar’s BeIN

  • Broadcast of political messages in coverage forbidden, analyst confirms.
  • Saudi football federation urges FIFA to sanction the Doha-owned channel.

LONDON: Saudi Arabia has a justified case in complaining to FIFA over the “politicization” of the World Cup by the Qatari broadcaster BeIN Sports, a prominent TV analyst has said.
A flurry of comments by hosts and pundits aired on BeIN’s Arabic station prompted the Saudi Arabian Football Federation to complain to FIFA this week, saying the broadcaster was using the football tournament to spread political messages aimed at insulting Saudi Arabia and its leaders.
In its complaint, the federation called on FIFA to take severe sanctions against the Qatari channel and to abolish the rights granted to the network.
One BeIN commentator accused Saudi Arabia of “selling out the Palestinian cause,” while a Doha-based international footballer invited on the channel was allowed to call for an end to the year-long boycott of Qatar by neighbors Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain.
Constantinos Papavassilopoulos, principal TV research analyst at IHS Markit Technology, said that politicized coverage was expressly forbidden by world football’s governing body as well as the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
“FIFA and UEFA forbid the transmission of political messages during football matches for which they control the rights. It’s not only comments by the broadcasters — but even banners; everything (political) is forbidden,” the analyst told Arab News.
“So messages about Palestine, about political things, are not allowed.”
Papavassilopoulos said that if there is evidence of such cases, authorities in the Kingdom would be justified in taking the matter to FIFA.
“If there are video clips that show BeIN media personnel speaking against Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia has a case,” he said.
But whether FIFA will take any action against BeIN is another matter. Papavassilopoulos pointed to the fact that BeIN is a valued client of FIFA — it bought the rights to host the World Cup across the Middle East and North Africa — and that Qatar plans to host the tournament in 2022.
“BeIN media is a very good client for FIFA. And don’t forget that Qatar is the country that will host the 2022 World Cup,” he said. “It’s going to be very very hard for FIFA to impose penalties on BeIN media knowing that Qatar will hold the next World Cup.”
Some of the biggest names in Arab sport have signed a petition to protest against BeIN’s politicization of World Cup coverage, urging FIFA President Gianni Infantino to investigate the coverage.
FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by Arab News.