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Elaph: Sham TV owner attacks Syrian officials for closure

Mideast Wire

On March 6, the Saudi-owned news website Elaph reported: “Akram al-Jindi, member of the Syrian People's Assembly and owner of "Sham Channel" which was closed in Syria after which he was forced to transmit from Cairo, launched a sharp attack on Syrian officials and said the corruption circles around Syrian President Bashar al-Asad were the ones which closed the channel even though the president's policy is clear. He urged Syrian Information Minister Dr Muhsin Bilal to be courageous and reveal the real reasons for closing it.

“The Syrian "Sham Channel" began its test transmission from Dubai in 2005 then moved to Syria in 2006 to broadcast from Damascus and succeeded in winning a considerable audience but was closed by a Syrian Government decision and it moved to the media production city in Egypt.

“In reply to a question from Egyptian media organs asking since the licence was legal why was the Sham Channel in Damascus closed, Al-Jindi replied: "This question should be addressed to the Syrian information minister who I hope will be courageous and declare frankly the reasons for closing the channel and preventing its transmission from Damascus even though other channels do not have its infrastructure as testified by trainers from the BBC who trained 270 channel employees before it started transmission."

“He added: "The channel was closed by a telephone call from officials in the state who did not declare the reasons. But I know very well that the reason is the fear from this channel's success and its attraction of viewers. I did not resort to the judiciary because I had received many promises to resume transmission but this has not happened yet."

“He went on to say that "the closure is to the advantage of the official Syrian media whose officials feared that the channel would expose its performance and they dealt with it as a competitor and not as complementing its media role."

“He asserted that "one of the Syrian deputies declared his solidarity with me after the crisis because the Syrian Government granted an Iraqi channel called Al-Ra'y (owned by Mish'an al-Juburi) license to transmit from the free zone and then it moved to transmit from Damascus while the people of the country are banned from launching channels."

“He stressed that "Syrian President Bashar al-Asad announced he had clear plans for developing Syria but the corruption circles around him were the ones which closed the Sham Channel and are the ones behind not letting it resume transmission and even the ban on any advertisement on the channel because all advertisements in Syria have to go through the state-owned Arab Advertisement Corporation." - Elaph, United Kingdom

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