Christian Satellite Channel Suspects Libya Behind Channel Block

( [email protected] ) Feb 24, 2011 01:51 PM EST

A satellite channel that broadcasts Christian programs across the Middle East region suspects Libya is responsible for jamming its channels.

SAT-7 says its Arabic and kids broadcasts have been jammed by an illegal uplink from a technical facility since protests against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi broke out last Friday.

It suspects that the facility, also blocking other channels on the Nilesat system, belongs to Libyan State Security in Tripoli.

The broadcaster believes the jamming was aimed at the Al Jazeera news channel, which shares the same news transponder as SAT-7.

The broadcaster says the jamming is likely to continue until the overthrow of the Libyan regime, which it expects to happen “very soon.”

“Of course, these are critical days for the Libyan people and they need our prayers that the violence and bloodshed will end soon,” a spokesperson for the ministry said.

“Tragic as the situation appears, the courage they have shown in their struggle for freedom, from a brutal and unpredictable tyrant, is an inspiration to the whole world – and will only add resolve to the wider and historic revolution that is sweeping the Middle East and North Africa at this time.”

SAT-7 is concerned that the jamming will deny its viewers in the country a “much needed source of encouragement and hope through these turbulent times.”

Regular viewers are being pointed to its other channel, SAT-7 Plus, which broadcasts “best of” programming from the Arabic and Kids channels. It is on the Hot Bird satellite system and has therefore been unaffected by the jamming.

SAT-7 is appealing for prayers for Christians in Libya and across the region, that they will be agents of reconciliation and faithful witnesses of Christ amid the chaos.

U.S. President Barack Obama has condemned the use of violence against protestors and warned that Libya faces sanctions.

He said: “The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous and it is unacceptable. So are threats and orders to shoot peaceful protestors and further punish the people of Libya.

“These actions violate international norms and every standard of common decency. This violence must stop.”

As the turmoil continues, a ferry with a capacity of 575 people has been sent by the U.S. to Tripoli to evacuate U.S. citizens. The ferry has been docked overnight due to bad weather but was expected to depart some time on Thursday.