Thank you Arab League.
Arab leaders have signed up to an ethical code for journalists. It sounds positive. It sounds like it is a way of protecting journalism, integrity, free speech. But no, this is the Arab World. And this is a deal signed by our Arab dictators. The only decisions they make are ones which protect them personally.
So, if journalists breach the code, the organisation’s permit to broadcast can be withdrawn. Until now, state broadcasters refrain from criticising their own country’s government, but are more free to lash out at other states.
This agreement will create a region-wide crackdown on journalistic analysis.
It is co-sponsored by Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Qatar – where Al Jazeera is based – is the only Arab state not to sign it.
Just in case you thought the leaders were being selfish, they’ve promised that the deal will protect “social harmony, national unity, public order or traditional values”. Sounds exactly like the trumped up charges against domestic dissidents appearing before military courts.