Nilesat cuts two controversial channels?

BBC Monitoring stated Oct 30 that local reports suggest that two controversial Arabic channels had been removed from Nilesat’s platform of services. However, it is uncertain whether the channels have fallen foul of the censor – or just haven’t been paying their bills.

One report emanated from the ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ website in Cairo (Ikhwanonline) and said “that the Egyptian government has suspended the transmission of the space channel, al-Hikmah, on Nilesat without giving any reasons for the action."

The website’s reason for the suspension was that the al-Hikmah space channel launched a campaign to lift the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip, adding: "however, the public relations officer of the space channel denied that the reason was the campaign launched to lift the Gaza blockade and said that the real reason was the financial difficulty which the [satellite] channel was undergoing and which precluded payment of its debts to Nilesat."

The second problem channel is the al-Barakah satellite channel, also transmitting on Nilesat. The report, carried by BBC Monitoring, said that Egyptian security services had suspended transmissions of the al-Barakah space channel on Nilesat, claiming that the channel was "transmitting programmes that threatened the Egyptian national security”.

The report added that the al-Barakah satellite channel began its transmission seven months ago, announcing that it was an "economic, commercial, social and developmental channel based on Islamic values and contemporary Arab-Islamic culture."