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INC TV to suspend broadcasting; US funds halted

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  • MidEastWebNews
    With thanks to Laurie Mylroie Asharq Al-Awsat (London) May 1, 2002 The INC s television to suspend broadcasting today due to halting of
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2002
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      With thanks to "Laurie Mylroie" <sam11@...>

      Asharq Al-Awsat (London)
      May 1, 2002
      The INC's television to suspend broadcasting today due to halting of
      American funding
      By Nadia Mehdeed-London

      Liberty (Hurriya) TV, which is managed by the Iraqi National Congress
      opposition group and is funded by the United States, will cease broadcasting
      today due to the suspension of financial backing for over three months now.

      Informed sources within the INC in London have revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat
      that the international corporations that handle the satellite broadcasting
      of the channel, establishment last August, will cut off the link today
      because the INC is unable to immediately pay for the overdue bills, thus
      effectively shutting down the channel that used to be received from the
      American satellite Telstar 12. The source added that the warning, which was
      received by INC officials yesterday, is the third of its kind, and only
      served to add to the anxiety of the opposition group that has been
      experiencing a clearly confused relationship with its Washington paymasters
      who fund its activities.

      However in the past such warnings were mere threats, but now they have
      become a reality. The managing officer of Connection Broadcast, the British
      corporation that threatened to halt the transmission, was contacted by
      Asharq Al-Awsat, and said, "We are a commercial company, and we had sent a
      warning to the INC threatening to cut off the transmission if they did not
      pay immediately, or managed to provide the necessary guarantees to stipulate
      that they would pay the overdue amount incurred for the channel," adding,
      "We could be patient with them, but for no longer than a week or else we
      shall coordinate the permanent shutdown of the channel together with our
      other partners", in reference to BT Broadcast, the British
      telecommunications corporation, and Loral, the American company that owns
      the satellite.

      It is important to note that Liberty TV is broadcast in a special manner
      from Great Britain if compared with the other Arab satellite channels
      operating from London and that had previously received a license from the
      Independent Television Commission (ITC): the official body that regulates
      television broadcasts. Liberty TV has not received such a license for a
      satellite transmission from Britain. Knowledgeable British sources confirmed
      to Asharq Al-Awsat that "the INC had applied for the license as a political
      opposition party, and not a commercial group, seeking to use [the channel]
      for strictly political purposes, which is prohibited by the special laws
      that govern television and satellite transmission."

      And for this reason, Liberty TV had transmitted its programs from its
      headquarters in London through BT Broadcast and Connection Broadcast fiber
      optic cables to the United States. The material arriving in America is then
      re-broadcast by Loral through its satellite.

      The source at the British company added, "There might be key international
      fronts like the U.S. Congress or the U.S. administration behind funding this
      channel or the INC, as the [INC] officials tell us, but that is not enough
      for us to continue providing this service", pointing out that the American
      authorities could have directly given to his company "the necessary
      guarantees that they will pay the overdue amounts by a certain date to
      prevent cutting off the transmission". Meanwhile, INC sources stated that
      Washington had previously committed itself to paying approximately 200,000
      USD, which is the total of the monthly expenses for the satellite channel
      that employs 30 personnel and has a transmission expense of 10,000 USD per
      month, however, none of the employees had received a salary in the past
      three months.

      Since the establishment of Liberty TV, the American government has spent
      barely 4 million USD from the Iraq Liberation Act, as mandated by Congress,
      to cover the satellite channel's expenses as well as the other programs
      conducted by the INC including military preparation and information
      gathering inside Iraqi territories.
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