Last Updated: Thu Sep 06, 2012 00:15 am (KSA) 21:15 pm (GMT)

Pro-Assad state TV channels dropped by Egypt satellite operator

A Nilesat source said the transmission of Syrian state TV channels, including Syria TV and al-Dunia TV, had been halted. (Photo composed by Al Arabiya)
A Nilesat source said the transmission of Syrian state TV channels, including Syria TV and al-Dunia TV, had been halted. (Photo composed by Al Arabiya)

Egypt’s satellite Nilesat stopped broadcasting official Syrian television stations on Wednesday, after a request from the ministers’ committee at the Arab League after the bloc met earlier in the day.

“We have stopped transmission of the official Syrian channels, implementing the recommendations of the Arab League,” the executive, who asked to remain anonymous, told AFP.

But the move was met with a criticism from Syria’s information ministry, denouncing the measure as was “biased” and part of a “campaign aimed at undermining Syria,” the state-run SANA news agency reported.

“Nilesat is violating the contract it has with Syria and is siding with parties hostile to our nation whose action falls within the Zionist (Israeli) project,” SANA said.

The Syrian state TV channels have been criticized for showing a

A Nilesat company source told Reuters news agency that the broadcast of the channels, which labels armed opposition as “terrorists,” was halted for contractual reasons but the transmission stopped as Arab ministers discussed a call for Nilesat and Arabsat, another regionally owned satellite outlet, to cut off Syrian channels.

Syria, Syria News and al-Dunia channels were stopped from 1100 GMT, shortly after Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi renewed his call for a new government in Syria to end 17 months of bloodshed.

“The transmission of the three channels ... was stopped for contract reasons,” a source at the mainly Egyptian state-owned Nilesat told Reuters, adding the Syrian side had violated their contracts.

Earlier on Wednesday, addressing a meeting of top Arab diplomats in Cairo, Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi said it was time for the Syrian regime to step down.

“I tell the Syrian regime ‘there is still a chance to end the bloodshed’. Now is the time for change... no time to be wasted talking about reform,” Mursi told the Cairo meeting.

“Don’t take the right step at the wrong time... because that would be the wrong step,” he said.

He urged President Bashar al-Assad to “learn lessons from recent history” and step aside, in reference to Arab Spring revolts that overthrew the long-time dictators of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

Mursi, who was in June elected Egypt’s first Islamist leader following an uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, urged Arab diplomats to move quickly to resolve the conflict.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, more than 26,000 people have been killed in the country since the revolt broke out in March 2011.

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