Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Freedom of Speech, PA-style: Satire sketch TV show yanked

From Ma'an:
A Ramadan TV series that became notorious for its criticism of Palestinian Authority officials has been discontinued on the PA-run Palestine TV, Attorney General Ahmad Al-Mughni said Tuesday evening.

Al-Mughni told Ma'an they decided to stop broadcasts of Watan Ala Watar [Country on a String] after Tuesday's episode because "it is full of mistakes, is meaningless and is a waste of time for people to watch."

The serial, broadcast during the holy month of Ramadan when broadcasters compete for captive audiences with soap operas and special series, was an emblem of PA's ability to tolerate self-criticism.

Al-Mughni said Tuesday that the series is "harmful to Palestinian society."

"It mocks leaders terribly, and has a poor scenario," he said, adding that episodes had crossed "red lines."

"There are people and personalities that can't be imitated in any way," the Attorney General said.

The series had targeted the beleaguered Palestinian Authority health ministry, public sector workers union head Bassam Zakarneh and teachers union in recent weeks, and officials are reported to have complained to the Attorney General about the send-up.

Palestine TV is operated by the Palestine Broadcast Cooperation, and supervised by the Ramallah-based Ministry of Information.

Watan Ala Watar gained a huge following for its uncompromising look at themes of politics, corruption, nepotism, religion and morality.
Notice that even though PA TV is effectively run by the Ministry of Information, it was yanked by the Attorney General.

JPost reported about subjects of the comedy threatening to sue a week ago.

Al Jazeera reported on the show in 2009: