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Arab League decision to block Syrian satellite channels

politically-motivated - FM DAMASCUS, June 18 (KUNA) -- The Syrian Ministry of Foreign and Expatriates Affairs condemned as "unprecedented and politically-motivated" the decision of the Arab League to block the broadcasts of the Syrian satellite TV channels via the Arabsat and NileSat.
The flagrantly contradicts the principles of the freedom of the press and the document regulating the Arab satellite broadcasting, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported on Monday.
"It also contradicts the sixth item of the plan of the UN-Arab League Joint Envoy Kofi Annan," SANA said, citing identical protest letters sent yesterday by the ministry to president of the UN Security Council and the UN Secretary General and the UN General Assembly.
During its extraordinary session, held in Doha on June 2th, 2012, the Arab League Council adopted "the shameful decision" asking the administrations of the Arab Satellite Communications Organization (Arabsat) and the Egyptian Satellite Company (NileSat) to take the necessary measures to cease the broadcast of the official and unofficial Syrian TV satellite channels, according to the report.
"This unprecedented political decision blatantly contradicts the principles of the freedom of press and the document regulating the Arab satellite broadcasting adopted by the Arab Information Ministers in 2008," it said.
The letters of the ministry cited Paragraph IV of Article V of the abovementioned document which provides for "commitment to the principle of the freedom of reception and retransmission of broadcast and the right of the Arab citizen across the member states to receiving whatever he/she wants of broadcast from any of the states that are members of the Arab Leagues." The Ministry added that the infamous Arab League decision violates the principles of journalism and contradicts the freedom of access to information approved by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held in Geneva in 2003 and the UN Information Committee.
The Ministry said that the decision also contradicts the sixth point of the plan of UN Envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, which was adopted by the UN Security Council in the resolution 2042 which calls on the Syrian Government to allow the entry of media outlets to Syria.
It pointed out that since March 25, 2012, over 207 media outlets from all over the world have entered Syria in addition to over 100 correspondents permanently accredited in Syria.
The Ministry reiterated commitment to Annan's plan concerning the entry of media outlets to Syria, highlighting the necessity for international bodies to take suitable stances towards the AL decision as it constitutes a flagrant violation of the freedom of information and an attempt to stop the Syrian national media. (end) tk.gb KUNA 182159 Jun 12NNNN