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.


Iran nuclear deal with six world powers gets parliament approval

Libya rival factions reject UN-proposed peace deal

Al-Nusra Front urges jihadists in Caucasus to target Russia

Wave of violence escalates in Jerusalem

Britain abandons Saudi penal system bid

Jerusalem suffers bloodiest day in wave of rising unrest

Ankara attacks raise Kurdish party's with Erdogan

German anti-Islam protesters demand Merkel resign

Palestinians accuse Israel of seeking ‘third intifada’

'Political coup' in Iraq Kurdistan as Barzani clings to power

Yemen PM meets President amid reports of growing differences

Libya factions reject UN-proposed unity government

Algeria orders closure of private TV over 'subversive' interview

Under Russia air cover, Syria regime fights ‘fiercest clashes’ with rebels

EU asks Russia to ‘cease’ air strikes on moderate rebels in Syria

Russian air force hit 53 targets in Syria in last 24 hours

Egypt court orders release of Mubarak sons

Iraq probing reports IS chief injured in air strike

Kurdish militia, Arab rebels join forces in Syria

Saudi to triple umrah visas

Britain urged to accept more Syrian refugees

Thousands vent their anger against Erdogan

Putin meets Saudi Defence Minister on Syria

Barzani’s party asks opposition members to leave Arbil

Lessons from second intifada: Palestinian leaders seek to keep lid on clashes

Iran issues verdict on Washington Post correspondent

Iran lawmakers give partial nod to nuclear deal

Russia rules out Syria ground operation

Iran ‘successfully’ tests new long-range missile

Is Russia using cluster bombs in Syria?

Iraq air force ‘hits’ convoy of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Iran holds funeral for senior commander killed in Syria

Pregnant woman, two-year-old child die in Israel deadly strike on Gaza

Ankara bombings exacerbate climate of mistrust in Turkey

Thousands take to streets to demand departure of Barzani

Qaeda in Yemen executes four on suspicion of sorcery

Egypt agrees to buy two Mistral warships from France

Israel struggles to contain spreading unrest as death toll rises

'Terrorist' attack kills at least 86 people in Ankara

PKK Kurdish rebels declare ‘state of inactivity’

Bashir twists knife in Sudan wound as flawed dialogue kicks off

Syria Assad forces advance with Russia air support

Jordan parliament accuses Israel of 'state terrorism'

World leaders urge Libya rivals to sign long-awaited peace deal

Nobel Peace Prize boosts pluralistic democracy in Tunisia