Arabsat Abruptly Stops Broadcasting Al-Manar
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Al-Manar TV said a large satellite operator that provides services to 20 Arab countries has suddenly stopped broadcasting the Hezbollah-run channel without explanation and in violation of a contract.
Al-Manar noted in its Friday evening newscast that the broadcast stoppage came shortly after Arabsat moved its office in Lebanon to Jordan following a reported spat with the Lebanese government.
Information Minister Ramzi Joreige told Al-Manar that he had no prior knowledge of Arabsat's decision.
"The ministry cannot directly intervene between Al-Manar and Arabsat. The relationship is governed through a private contract," Joreige said, adding that Arabsat would be liable for penalties if it terminated the contract, The Daily Star reported.
Reports emerged last month that Arabsat had warned the Lebanese government it would move its office from Lebanon to Jordan if it failed to take measures against Beirut-based Al Mayadeen TV for hosting a guest who criticized Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi government holds about 37 percent of Arabsat's marketshares, and the operator is based in Riyadh.
Arabsat filed a lawsuit against pro-Syrian Al Mayadeen, which it also stopped broadcasting, after a guest criticized Riyadh's handling of the hajj stampede in which more than 2,000 people were killed.
The Central News Agency had reported that Arabsat closed its headquarters in Lebanon's Jouret al-Ballout in the northern Metn district on Nov. 19 and moved it to Jordan without waiting for the Lebanese judiciary to issue its verdict in its lawsuit against Al Mayadeen.