Palestinian Authority orders closure of TV station in Ramallah
December 4th, 2010 - 13:33 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.

The Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority has ordered a local satellite TV station planning to start transmission in January to shut down, officials at the station said today. The station, Filistin al-Ghad (Palestine of Tomorrow), received the order on Thursday from the Interior Ministry. In a one-line message, the ministry ordered the station to shut down its offices in Ramallah without any explanation, they said.

Filistin al-Ghad had recently hired more than 40 people and rented offices in Ramallah, with plans to start trial transmission in January. Officials in the station specified that they had a proper broadcasting licence, and expressed surprise at the closure decision. The station is owned by al-Mustaqbal, a privately-owned company with Palestinian and Arab investors, chief among them Muhammad Dahlan, a Fatah strongman and member of its Central Committee.

Al-Filistinia, a Fatah-run satellite station, had to shut down earlier this year after a six-month trial transmission due to a shortage of funds. The official Palestine TV is currently the only Palestinian satellite station broadcasting from Ramallah.