Palestinian children watch TV in the Jabalia Refugee camp
Palestinian children watch TV in the Jabalia Refugee camp in 2009. The Palestinian High Court has overruled a ban on the broadcast of a popular satirical programme, the director of programming at Palestine TV told AFP on Thursday. © Mohammed Abed - AFP/File
Palestinian children watch TV in the Jabalia Refugee camp
AFP
Last updated: January 12, 2012

Palestinian court allows satire show back on TV

The Palestinian High Court has overruled a ban on the broadcast of a popular satirical programme, the director of programming at Palestine TV told AFP on Thursday.

Imad Asfar said the court had overruled a ban by the attorney general on the transmission of "Watan ala Watar" or "Homeland Hanging by a Thread," saying the programme could now be broadcast on Palestinian television.

Attorney general Ahmad al-Mughani ordered the show off the air in August 2011 after a slew of complaints, some of them from officials who were skewered by the satirical sketch show.

"The court decision is a good step towards limiting the attorney general's ability to interfere in artistic works," Asfar said.

Despite the ruling, Asfar said it was unlikely the programme would return to Palestine TV's line-up, saying its programming team had been working to create shows to replace it.

Imad Farajin, co-creator of the show which has been running since 2009, said he had been negotiating for some time with Arab television channels interested in broadcasting it.

"I don't think that 'Watan ala Watar' will return to Palestine TV because the decision to take it off the air in the first place was a political one and not judicial," he said.

Before it was banned, "Watan ala Watar" was broadcast daily during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan -- a peak time for television viewers in the region, and on a weekly basis for the rest of the year.

It gained a following for its unprecedented tongue-in-cheek criticism of Palestinian and foreign leaders, as well as institutions, and clips from the show were widely circulated online, especially on YouTube.

But the show was taken off air following complaints from individuals ranging from the head of the anti-corruption commission to the director of the Palestinian police force.

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