Bahrain threatens to quit Arabsat

Bahrain is threatening to quit the Arabsat satellite consortium, unhappy that Arabsat has, in its view, failed to take down certain channels that are broadcasting content not to Bahrain’s liking.

Satellite operator Arabsat is owned by a consortium of Arab telecommunications companies, mostly themselves owned by their governments. Bahrain says Arabsat is “failing to take legal measures to check channels inciting hatred, sectarianism and violence,” according to a report carried by BBC Monitoring.

Many of the channels complained about are not directly contracted with Arabsat but have their transmissions handled for them by third-party companies.

“The failure to take action is a blatant breach of the agreement signed between the two sides and a flagrant violation of professional standards and norms and of international agreements,” said Shaykh Fawaz Bin Muhammad Al-Khalifa, the president of Bahrain’s Information Affairs Authority (IAA).

Sheykh Al-Khalifa continued: “There are around Iran-backed 40 satellite channels that have antagonistic and sectarian stances against Bahrain in particular and the Gulf states in general. These channels have assumed a suspicious position against Bahrain using lies and baseless allegations and have also launched campaigns to distort the role of the Peninsula Shield.”

 

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