By Libya Herald staff.
Al Nabaa TV, the . . .[restrict]main media supporter of Libya Dawn/General National Congress regime in Tripoli, has been forced off air today.
According to the station’s managing director Walid Al-Lafi, Kuwait’s Gulfsat and Egypt’s Nilesat stopped rebroadcasting it following a request by the Beida-based government of Abdullah Al-Thinni. It said that a “secret” letter had been sent to the Kuwaitis and Egyptians on 25 March.
Earlier in the day, the Tripoli-based Al-Nabaa had said on its Facebook page that re-broadcasts had been cut on Nilesat “for reasons that are not clear” and that work was underway to overcome the problem and “return broadcast within hours”.
There has been no comment from the government, but if true, the most surprising aspect of the case is how long it took the authorities to get the Egyptians and Kuwaitis, both of who strongly back the Thinni government, to act.
Nilesat and Gulfsat both took Ahrar 25, a Beirut-based satellite channel linked to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood off air over a year ago. Last August, the government managed to get Nilesat to switch off Libya’s two state-owned TV channels, Al-Wataniya and Al-Rasmiya. It was said at the time that Nilesat cooperated because it accepted the Thinni government as the owners and took instructions from it shut them down.
Ownership of the privately-run station is unclear although it is widely asserted that it is owned by the controversial Abdul-Hakim Belhaj. Unconfirmed reports say that funding came from Qatar.
In January, the station’s Tripoli offices were hit in an RPG attack. No one claimed responsibility and no one was charged in connection with the attack.