Topic | Choose topic/s and define your search
Affiliations / Personalities
Date Range

Abbas defends show cancellation in interview about PA media censorship

Headline: “In interview with Qatari 'Al-Watan' newspaper – President [Abbas]: Hamas has no objections concerning the 'September target date'"

Host: "You spoke about freedom of opinion and said that you support this, so why did you discontinue the program 'Watan Ala-Watar' [Homeland on a string], which was broadcast on PA TV?"
Abbas: "This program has been broadcast for the past three years, and the first episode of the program criticized me. At the time I was glad, because this reflected an atmosphere of freedom. The program soon came out against all the senior [PA] personnel, but those responsible for the program are inexperienced and don't have anyone to write [scripts] for them. Since this is a comedy show, what is needed is a professional writer to write criticism without slandering people.
More than once I brought to the attention of Yasser Abd Rabbo, who is in charge of TV, that sometimes the program sinks to a very low standard and that it would be better to avoid this low level.
In one episode they came out against the head of the Anti-Corruption Authority, Rafiq Al-Natsheh, saying that he appointed relatives to various positions. These are untrue statements which were used as a joke, but they remain unacceptable."
Host: "So you're in favor of discontinuing the program?"
Abbas: "At the beginning of Ramadan I told the fellows that they need help with writing so that the episodes will come out differently. For example, we have a program called 'Skits'. It's very nice and presents 5-6 wonderful skits every day. It criticizes, even painfully, without slandering or distorting.
As for 'Watan Ala-Watar', the Attorney General discontinued it because it often sank to a low level. I swear by Allah that I had no idea about the matter; I was in Sarajevo at the time. The Attorney General usually informs me about the measures he wants to adopt, but this time he made the move without informing me, and I agreed with this move as determined by the Attorney General."…
Host: "Do you agree with the opinions which say that Mr. Yasser Abd Rabbo uses the program 'Watan Ala-Watar' to fight with people who disagree with him?"
Abbas: "No, no. Yasser Abd Rabbo doesn't use this program and he doesn't even know what it is showing. When I used to ask him about one of its episodes, he used to tell me that he hadn't watched it."