Authorities prepare to shut down 56 unlicensed satellite channels
After having arrested the operator of the Feloul Satellite Channel on Monday, Egyptian authorities are preparing to shut the channel down, along with 55 others.
Those under the spotlight are reported to include music and entertainment channels, along with some religious channels, all of which are said to be unlicensed in Egypt.
Acting on an arrest warrant issued from the prosecutor general, security forces detained Sama al-Masry, a politicized belly dancer who launched the Feloul Satellite Channel in January.
The term “feloul” refers to remnants of the old (Mubarak) regime. It reflects the nature of this channel, which prides itself on being anti-Muslim Brotherhood and against the January 25 Revolution. However, the channel is still broadcasting via a Bahraini satellite provider.
On Tuesday, Brigadier General Mohie Salama — Chief of the Artistic Works Department at the Giza Security Directorate — told Al-Arabiya that a total of 56 satellite channels would be shut down as they lacked authorization to broadcast in Egypt.
Salama commented that most of these unlicensed satellite channels have been broadcasting via overseas satellite providers, particularly in Bahrain and France. The general added that the ministries of information, interior, and foreign affairs would soon take action, in coordination with French and Bahraini communication authorities, against all unregulated channels.
Beyond Feloul, other satellite channels expected to be taken-down are Farah and Shaabiyat, which broadcast music video clips.
According to Salama, the unlicensed Nada Channel is also to be shutdown, as it screens misleading advertisements that promote products proven to be flawed or detrimental to viewers’ health. Nada reportedly broadcasts its signal via the Bahraini Satellite Noursat.
Salama explained that operators and owners of these domestically unlicensed channels are able to circumvent Egyptian communication regulations merely by paying an average of $US 20,000 to launch their satellite channels abroad.
The general suggested that these channels are subsequently able to generate millions of pounds in revenues from advertising, which is also not taxed or regulated by the Egyptian authorities.