By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 22 August 2014:
After the closure on Tuesday of the two official state satellite TV channels, Al- Rasmiya and . . .[restrict]Al-Wataniya, broadcasting via the Nilesat satellite, the Libyan government warned private satellite TV channels on Wednesday (20 August) against incitement.
It warned that if they are to continue in their broadcasts, it would take local and international legal action.
In its statement, the government said that the state owned channels were forcibly entered and their managing board were evicted and were taken over by one of the groups (militias) currently fighting in Tripoli.
These government owned channels were engaging in inciting and inflammatory broadcasts encouraging violence and hatred and were providing large amounts of airtime to personalities that were engaged in incitement, the government statement explained.
In view of this, the government statement said that the necessary steps were taken to stop their broadcasts through the operating company (Nilesat) and revealed that work is at hand to recommence broadcasting through the two state channels with a Libyan, patriotic, relevant dialogue that is neutral and distant from incitement and violence and in cooperation with the HoR.
To this end, the statement continued, the government calls on private Libyan channels that broadcast from within and without Libya to cease their inflammatory and provocative campaigns for terrorism and killing against Libyans and the destruction of the country’s infrastructure
The statement also warns these channels to cease immediately such activity and to create a relevant dialogue that calls for the end to fighting and the saving of blood and the safety of civilians and calls on Libyans to be rational and conciliatory, mindful of a united Libya and the life of the innocent.
The government statement further goes on to say that, if any of these channels continue in their way of incitement to violence, the government will seek the legal indictment of the owners and managers of these channels, local and internationally with responsibility with incitement to violence and the attack on civilians and the terrorizing of the innocent.
It will be recalled that both the state owned stations are in the hands of Islamists and anti-government forces and have refused to broadcast coverage of proceedings of the House of Representatives (HoR).
The Al-Wataniya was taken over on 4 August, the date of the first sitting of the HoR, by forces belonging to Abdul Rauf Kara, who is in effective control of Mitiga civilian airport and airbase. They had ordered staff not to broadcast the inauguration that day of the new parliament and in future to support the Misratan-led Libya Dawn military operation in Tripoli.
The boss of Rasmiya, Nizam Tayyari, likewise has pursued a determinedly anti-HoR and anti-government line.
On another note, Ali Tekbali, HoR member for Tripoli Centre, has revealed since that the order to the Cairo based Nilesat, on which the two state channels broadcast, to close the two channels down originated from the HoR and not the government. [/restrict]