First Published: 2012-01-12


Palestinian court overrules ban on satire show ‘Watan ala Watar’


Palestinian High Court overrules ban on broadcast of popular satirical programme, ‘Homeland Hanging by Thread’.


Middle East Online

Show was broadcast daily during Ramadan

RAMALLAH - The Palestinian High Court has overruled a ban on the broadcast of a popular satirical programme, the director of programming at Palestine TV said 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.


Top US general visits airbase in fight for Mosul

No Russian air strikes on Aleppo in 7 days

Thousands of Yemenis await lifting of Coalition blockade

Iran calls for more Asian investment

Egypt rolls out austerity programme

25 travelling on inflatable dinghy found dead in Mediterannean

Villages reclaimed, but return still distant for Iraqi Christians

Turkey says will clear Kurdish fighters from Manbij

Russia cancels warship fuel stop after pressure on Spain to refuse permission

US, UK expect Raqa offensive within weeks

Sudan's Bashir to appoint PM for first time since coup

Israel army says soldier wounded by gunfire on Lebanese border

Students among 22 dead as raids hit Syria school

Israel charges 13 Jews with celebrating murder of Palestinians

Revolutionary Guards commander says Iranian firms should lead oil projects

Egyptian officer accidentally shoots dead Israeli teen

IS members ‘shave beards’ as Iraqi forces approach Mosul

US praises Qatar moves to deny jihadists funds

Clashes between protesters, police in Diyarbakir after Turkey arrests mayors

Saudi financial position strong despite oil prices says minister

Iran develops 'suicide drone'

UN envoy to Yemen presents peace proposal to Huthis

Turkey says US must extradite Gulen to avoid damaging ties

Mosul survivors recount fleeing IS 'caliphate'

Report finds Israeli forces could have avoided killings

NATO flies first surveillance mission backing anti-IS coalition

Russian FM says Mosul offensive equivalent to Moscow's Aleppo bombing

Saudi Arabia denies it imposed Yemen blockade

Syria Kurds say Turkey wants to prevent Raqa recapture

Anger at Israel national theatre show in occupied West Bank

UN receives reports of dozens of IS atrocities near Mosul

Hundreds protest against UN 'complicity' in rebel-held Yemen capital

Turkey FM says ground operation in Iraq a possibility

Iraqi forces retake town from IS

Iran nuclear negotiator cleared of spying charges

Al-Shabaab in suicide bomb attack on AU base in Somalia

Gunmen kill two policemen in eastern Saudi Arabia

Iraqi paramilitary to block IS from fleeing Mosul for Syria

Two imams arrested in Ibiza over 'Islamic State support'

US general raises Yemen concerns with Saudi officials

Iraqi forces advancing on Mosul face stiff resistance

At least 10 hurt in southern Turkey explosion

French FM annoys Turkey by contrasting states of emergency

UN planning for 150,000 displaced by Mosul battle

UAE jails Sudanese man for planning attacks on immigrants