Egyptian ministry tells imams to obtain ‘written consent’ before TV appearances, social media debates

Al-Azhar Mosque in the old city of Cairo, Egypt. (Reuters)
Updated 18 February 2018
0

Egyptian ministry tells imams to obtain ‘written consent’ before TV appearances, social media debates

CAIRO: The Egyptian Ministry of Awqaf (Religious Endowments) has ordered imams to avoid appearing on broadcasters without “a written permission” from the ministry, a newspaper report said Sunday.
The decision also prevents imams from engaging in religious-related debates on social media platforms without the ministry’s consent, according to El-Wattan newspaper.
“All Awqaf employees should not take part in any [Islamic] jurisprudence or preaching debates on any program, nor address controversial religious topics or issues of public interest through media or social networking channels, without obtaining written consent from the ministry,” the statement said.
“Those who violate this will expose themselves to legal accountability and the ministry’s ethics committee will take the necessary measures,” it added.
Earlier in November, a media regulatory body agreed with Egypt’s Al-Azhar Islamic Institution to create a list of 50 scholars who will solely be ones allowed to issue fatwas on broadcasting outlets.
The media regulator said the step was aimed at curbing “massive chaos” caused by “unusual religious edicts” issued by imams on satellite channels.


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.