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Nilesat attacks pro-legitimacy television channels

February 8, 2014 at 2:48 am

Egypt’s satellite communication company, Nilesat, has continued to attack television stations that had been covering events during the military coup against President Mohammed Morsi. Political and religious channels have been the main targets of the military-led campaign to stifle dissent.

Al-Yarmouk television station’s broadcasting was stopped yesterday after over 4 days of static and sound problems. The interference had started during the airing of events in Rabaa Al-Adawiya, which had been organised to call for the return of the elected Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi.

The television station also provided its viewers with breaking news and aired speeches from Rabaa Al-Adawiya. They also spoke to a network of correspondents stationed across Egypt’s various provinces.

Al-Yarmouk was subjected to more static interference when it broadcast protests in Jordan following an increase in fuel prices.

Several other satellite television stations were also exposed to harassment and threats, including Al-Hiwar TV, which broadcasts from Britain. The channel’s managing editor, Azzam Tamimi, confirmed via his Facebook account that the station was being threatened due to its broadcasting of the pro-legitimacy protests in Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square, and that those pressuring the channel told them to “stop broadcasting from Rabaa Al-Adawiya and we will stop the static.”

Observers have commented that the systematic attack by Nilesat began with closing a number of pro-Morsi Egyptian television stations, such as Misr 25, Al-Nas TV, Al-Rahma TV and Al-Khaleegiya TV. Al-Jazeera News and Al-Jazeera Live in Egypt were not spared from the static interference, driving the station to announce new frequencies in order to continue broadcasting.

The numerous closures of pro-legitimacy Egyptian stations came after Colonel Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi announced a code of conduct for media institutions, which had initially been announced by President Morsi before the coup. However, all other Egyptian stations have continued to broadcast with no problems.

Due to the closures, various other media stations have been covering the events in Egypt, including Al-Quds TV, Al-Zaytouna TV, TNN (the Turkish channel), Yemen’s Shabab TV, Suhail TV, and Ahrar 25 TV.

Nilesat is responsible for operating satellites Nilesat 101 and Nilesat 102. The satellite operates multiple geosynchronous communication satellites and broadcasts over 600 encrypted and free-to-air Arab channels.

The company was established in July 1996 to enable direct broadcasting to homes and launched two satellites. The company’s headquarters are located in the 6th October city, near Cairo.