Viewing cable 04MUSCAT2223
Title: MUSCAT MEDIA REACTION: CIVIL SOCIETY, FREE SPEECH, U.S.

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
04MUSCAT22232004-12-21 06:29:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Muscat
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS MUSCAT 002223 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR NEA/ARP (TROBERTS), NEA/PPD (CWHITTLESEY), NEA/P 
(FFINVER), INR/R/MR 
LONDON FOR GOLDRICH 
PARIS FOR ZEYA 
USCENTCOM FOR PLUSH 
FOREIGN PRESS CENTER/ASILAS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: KPAO KMDR OIIP MU
SUBJECT: MUSCAT MEDIA REACTION: CIVIL SOCIETY, FREE SPEECH, U.S. 
HYPOCRISY 
 
 
------------------------ 
Creating A Civil Society 
------------------------ 
 
1.The lead editorial in the government-owned Arabic daily "Oman" 
on December 14 was entitled "NGOs and Civil Society": 
 
"In order for the relationship between governments and nonprofit 
organizations to be strong, governments must demonstrate respect 
for human rights, enforce the rule of law, and promote the 
development of civil society.  Since the end of the Cold War, 
there has been a new impetus to spread democratic principles 
throughout the world.  In the Arab world this has lead to calls 
for greater tolerance.  Some changes have already taken place. 
For example, phrases like `open communication', `reform', and 
`political freedom' are now employed in the Arab world.  However, 
Arab societies must do more to create an environment in which 
civil society can grow. A positive first step would be to 
implement policies that promote the development of non-profit 
organizations that support civil society and community 
involvement.  If this is done, Arab societies will clearly be on 
their way to creating meaningful civil societies." 
 
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The Thin Red Line 
----------------- 
 
¶2. On December 16, "Oman" carried an editorial entitled "The 
Danger of Silence": 
 
"France's Al-Manar television station, which is owned and 
operated by Hezbollah, has been silenced.  Eutelsat, a French 
satellite company, has refused to host the station on its 
carrier.  Critics of Eutelsat claim that the French government 
pressured the company to stop hosting the station because the 
government felt threatened by the content of the station's 
reporting.  It appears that in the West there is a thin line 
between what is considered free speech and what is considered 
dangerous speech.  The difference depends on how sensitive the 
topic is.  Other examples of Islamic voices being silenced in the 
West are mosque imams in Germany, Islamic groups in England, and 
all of the above in the United States.  In America there is a 
very thin red line between the freedom to lift one's voice in 
expressing opinions and the risk of losing one's voice 
completely." 
 
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U.S. Hypocrisy Causes Arab Bankruptcy 
------------------------------------- 
 
¶3. An editorial appeared in the privately owned Arabic daily "Al- 
Watan" on December 19 entitled "Bankruptcy through Excuses": 
 
"It is hard to take the United States seriously when it claims to 
stand for freedom of speech and political pluralism, but turns 
around and applies political pressure on certain media groups to 
prevent them from expressing their opinions....  This refers to 
the U.S. role in blocking the broadcasting of Al-Manar 
television.  The U.S. alleges that the station obtains funding 
from organizations on its terrorist list.  Essentially, Al-Manar 
has been prevented from broadcasting for attempting to obtain 
funds to finance its daily operation.  This incident shows that 
the America does not practice what it preaches.  The U.S. is 
attempting to silence Arabic media and replace them with its own. 
This explains the creation of Al-Hurra television and `Hi' 
magazine." 
BALTIMORE