By Ajnadin Mustafa.
Tripoli, 19 August 2014:
Libya’s two state-owned TV channels, Al-Wataniya and Al-Rasmiya, were effectively switched off today by Nilesat, the . . .[restrict]Egyptian satellite broadcasting company controlled by the Egyptian authorities.
The company stopped rebroadcasting the two stations after the Libya government requested they be stopped. According to a Media Ministry spokesman, the request was made by Culture Minister Habib Al-Amin, who is also acting Media Minister.
Both stations are in the hands of Islamists and anti-government forces and have refused to broadcast and coverage of proceedings the House of Representatives (HoR).
Wataniya was taken over on 4 August by forces belonging to Abdul Rauf Kara, who is in effective control of Mitiga airbase. They ordered staff not to broadcast the inauguration that day of the new parliament and in future to support the Misratan-led Libya Dawn operation in Tripoli
The boss of Rasmiya, Nizam Tayyari, likewise has pursued a determinedly anti-HoR and ant-government line.
At the beginning of the month he was expelled from Tunisia after he attacked the Libyan government in a TV interview there in which he accused the acting Interior Minister Salah Mazegh of being a Qaddafi supporter and having worked for Qaddafi’s security apparatus. The accusation provoked a furious denial from the Interior ministry who in turn accused him of lying for political purposes.
Because the two stations are government-owned, Nilesat which broadcasts some 700 TV channels and 100 digital radio channels by its three satellites, was obliged to shut them down when asked to do so by Al-Amin. However, the Egyptian authorities, known to be opposed to Libya’s Islamists, are believed to have fully supported the move.
Last year the government requested Nilesat to stop two pro-Qaddafi stations but it turned out they were not being broadcast by it. In July 2011, a Cairo court ordered it to stop broadcasting TV stations controlled by the Qaddafi regime. [/restrict]