Yemini opposition launches sat-ch

Chris Forrester

Yemen’s Islah Party is launching a satellite channel on Eutelsat’s Atlantic Bird satellite at 8 deg West, which is co-located with Nilesat. Islah has been formally licensed after local authorities approved a law to permit private (that is non-government backed) channels to start transmissions.

The Yemin Observer reported that pilot broadcasts are being prepared now in readiness for broadcasting to officially start. The Observer quoted a source saying “that a great number of programmes have been prepared, reiterating that the channel will be starting within a short period of time, will meet high professional standards, and will address various national issues.” The source added that the station refused financial support from all sources other than benevolent Islah Party members, Sheikh Hamid al-Ahmar for example.

Islah said it was not able to gain carriage on Arabsat or Nilesat. The source disclosed that the company had sent a delegation to NileSat to negotiate the launch of the Islah channel from a Nilesat satellite. But the bid was refused stipulating the consent of the Yemeni security authorities, on the grounds of Islah being an opposition party to the government.

The source added that Islah also contacted the Arabsat, but was ultimately turned down due to a lack of space on that network. He went on to say that Islah finally made a deal with the Eutelsat (on Atlantic Bird), which is broadcast from 8 deg West.

The source said that the Islah Party has been preparing for the launch of its own television station for a long time. It was clarified that the channel will broadcast carrying the name of the party and the party’s insignia consisting of the name and the sun - the party’s election logo. He added that the channel will start its first days with recitations from the Holy Qur’an.

The launch of the Islah television channel, the first private Yemeni channel, comes one month after local laws came into force permitted the licensing of private television and radio channels.