Free Libyan satellite TV channel to launch from Qatar
March 28th, 2011 - 11:03 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.

For the first time in its history, Libya is getting its own independent satellite channel. A group of Libyans from abroad and inside the country is setting up the new station to broadcast news and commentary about Libya for a Libyan audience, with the aim of countering Libyan state propaganda and promoting dialogue about the country’s future after Muammar al Gaddafi.

The channel, to be called simply Libya TV, launches this week in Doha after less than two weeks of hurried preparation. Its founder is the avuncular Mahmud Shammam, a well-known Libyan expatriate journalist who edits Foreign Policy’s Arabic edition. For the first month, Shammam hopes to broadcast four hours of original programming each day, including a 20-minute news bulletin and a half-hour talk show, and then extend it thereafter.

Libya TV is being funded primarily by donations from Libyan businessmen abroad, including one $250,000 contribution from a wealthy Libyan donor in Britain. The state of Qatar, in addition to agreeing to host the network on its soil, has turned over the facilities and technical staff of Al-Rayyan, a local channel focused on cultural programming.