Satellite wars over Syria
Europe’s Hotbird satellite broadcasting system has suspended the broadcast of Syrian television channels, the Syrian government announced on Monday.
The move was part of previously-imposed sanctions against Syrian media by the European Union and the Arab League.
“In compliance with unfair sanctions imposed against the Syrian national media, the satellite channel and the Syrian Drama channel were banned on the “Hotbird” satellite,” the Syrian information ministry announced on its website, noting that viewers can watch these channels using the Russian satellite. They did not give further details.
The Syrian Journalists Union condemned the “Hotbird” ban of the Syrian Satellite and Drama channels, stating the action “aims to prevent the transmission of the Syrian voice to the Arab and international public opinion.”
“This action is a scandalous violation of the principles of journalism and freedom of opinion and expression and that it comes within an aggressive campaign targeting the Syrian government,” the Union said.
The suspension came after Arab satellite “Arabsat” and the Egyptian satellite “Nilesat” dropped their broadcast of the pro-Syrian regime channel “Dunia.”
Syrian official media are accused of provoking violence in their coverage of the events taking place in the country.
They have also been accused of launching a smear campaign against Arab and Western countries, blaming them of conspiring against the Syrian government.
Eiad Shurbaji, editor-in-chief and publisher of Shabablek magazine said pro-government media coverage in Syria has contributed to provoking inter-sectarian violence in the country.
Shurbaji told Al Arabiya that the Syrian media helped “create” violence in the country, adding that many journalists working in Syrian state institutions have defected, in protest against forced participation in the crackdown on civilian protesters.
Syrian state-run media, meanwhile, accuses opposition forces of crimes and of conspiring with foreign powers.
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