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Al-Qadhafi’s son launches Libya’s first private satellite TV

BBC Monitoring

Text of report by London-based newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat website on 16 August

[Report by Khalid Mahmud in Cairo: "Al-Qadhafi's Son Launches New Satellite Channel"]

Engineer Sayf-al-Islam, the son of Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, launched last night the test transmission of a new Libyan satellite channel called "Al-Libiyah", which thus joined the media group that he intends to establish to mark the first anniversary of his initiative last year to bring about political, economic, and media changes in Libya under the name of "Together for the Sake of Tomorrow's Libya." The test transmission was made from the channel's headquarters in Al-Nasr Street, the capital Tripoli, in the presence of dozens of Arab artists who were invited from almost all the Arab capitals, including Cairo, Tunisia, Morocco, and Lebanon. Its actual transmission will start on 20 August, the date set by Sayf-al-Islam for delivering a comprehensive speech in which he will review the initiative he launched on the same date last year.

A source cl! ose to Sayf-al-Islam told "Al-Sharq al-Awsat" that the aim behind the new media is to steer away from the usual "classical" approaches in the official media organs and added that the new channel would be committed to the national line but not be subjected to very close censorship.

It was learned that the channel has just finished preparing a documentary to be aired later about the history of the Fatimid State in the Arab world.

The new channel is one of the media tools of the 9/1 Company that is owned by Al-Qadhafi Development Foundation that has been managed by Al-Qadhafi's son for years as a nongovernmental organization that is seen as the front for his political and media activities.

Some might consider the new channel a public test of Sayf-al-Islam who is known for his constant criticism of the conditions of the press and media in his country. This channel's budget remains unknown while some sources say more than $20 million has been allocated for its ! first year.

This is the first time that the Libyan authorities a llow a private satellite channel to broadcast from its territories since the General Libyan Radio Authority controls all the administrative and financial affairs of the Libyan media organs, both the audio and visual, while the revolutionary committees determine their policy.

Source: London, Al-Sharq al-Awsat website, 16 Aug 07


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