NHRC hails Ofcom decision to censure Abu Dhabi channel
November 09 2020 10:57 PM

QNA Doha

UAE-based TV channel condemned for violating Ofcom Broadcasting Code by airing 'interview' of Qatari citizen

The National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) has welcomed the decision of the Office of Communications of the United Kingdom (Ofcom) to condemn Abu Dhabi TV channel for broadcasting an interview that was recorded in the form of alleged confessions by Qatari citizen Dr Mahmoud al-Jaida , during his arbitrary detention in Abu Dhabi in 2013.

The decision stated that on June 28, 2017, Abu Dhabi TV channel, affiliated with the Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC) and licensed by Ofcom, aired a recorded interview under the title "Mahmoud Al Jaidah and the clandestine organisation in UAE".

Ofcom considered that broadcasting the interview against the will of Dr al- Jaidah, who was tortured and ill-treated in UAE prisons, constituted a grave breach of the principles of fairness and privacy set out in the Ofcom Broadcasting Code. The decision also provided for imposing legal sanctions on the channel for its serious violation of the code.

The NHRC considered this decision as an initial step in achieving justice and redress for the Qatari citizen, who has been subjected to arbitrary arrest, torture and degrading treatment by the authorities in the UAE and Abu Dhabi TV which accused him and the state of Qatar of terrorism.

According to the NHRC, the decision to condemn and impose sanctions on the Abu Dhabi government channel is considered a historical precedent that paves the way for deterring such channels from using the media to spread hatred, spread lies and promote gross human rights violations. This decision also prevents the exploitation of licenses granted by countries that respect the rule of law, to falsify facts and promote suspicious agendas.

"Since his arrest, the NHRC followed up the case of Dr al-Jaidah and provided him with legal and psychological support in preparing the necessary files to prosecute those involved in the case, knowing that there is another case pending for resolution before Ofcom." In this context, The National Human Rights Committee emphasised that it will spare no effort to address injustice inflicted on citizens and residents as a result of the unjust blockade.

The events of the case date back to March 2018 when Dr al-Jaidah filed a complaint with Ofcom through his lawyer ; the Abu Dhabi channel initially tried to obstruct the investigations by not responding to the broadcasting organisation's requests, which prompted the authority to open an investigation into the channel's behaviour and issue a warning to it that the licence could be withdrawn, prompting the channel to respond "that the old administration chose to ignore the broadcasting organization's messages, but today under the new administration, it expresses its intention to cooperate with Ofcom."

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