Egypt to block broadcast of pro-Gaddafi TV channels


A court in Egypt has ruled that its main satellite network should no longer show 14 Libyan channels after they broadcast inaccurate news about Muammar Gaddafi’s opponents, the state news agency said.

The channels affiliated to the Libyan leader’s government spread “false information about the revolution in Libya against his rule”, lawyers who brought the action said, according to news agency MENA.

The channels would no longer be shown via Nilesat satellites, which are owned by Egypt and run by the state broadcasting union, the court said, Reuters reports.

Nilesat is the dominant commercial satellite network for the Middle East and North Africa and its footprint covers Libya, including the rebel-held east, its website said.

More than 40 million households viewed its channels in 2009, it said, without providing viewing figures for the Libyan channels.

The main Libyan state TV stations dedicate much of their airtime to reporting pro-Gaddafi demonstrations, the leader’s anti-Western speeches and patriotic folk music.

Their news programmes mostly portray the rebels as dangerous armed thugs or followers of Al Qaeda.

Egypt’s military rulers have avoided taking sides in the civil war in neighbouring Libya but have kept the border open, ensuring supplies can reach the rebels.

In May they decided to send an official representative to the rebel base of Benghazi in Libya’s east.