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Arabsat has recently taken down transmissions from two highly controversial channels, Al-Manar and Al-Mayadeen. The Arabsat statement, issued December 8th, sets out to clarify operational and legal obligations in regard to its broadcasting policies.
Arabsat stresses that it works under the overall umbrella of the Arab League, and that it doesn’t interfere in content or transmissions. However, the satellite operator stated:
1. The Commercial contract signed between Arabsat and any customer is considered as the legal reference and the basis that governs the relationship between the two parties and to rely on its terms in case of any legal dispute, according to what is stated in its terms and already approved by both parties.
2. Both of Al-Mayadeen and Al-Manar channels have breached the terms of their contracts and violated the spirit of the Honor Charter of the Arab Media, which clearly and explicitly forbids the broadcast of any programs that contravene viewers’ rights and privacies, instigate sectarian conflicts, violence, differences, social disorder that disturb tranquility, disunite viewers, or degrade and demean any of the political and religious figures in countries [under] the footprint of the satellite.
3. As a result of such a serious breach of the legal contact terms by Al-Mayadeen & Al-Manar, Arabsat has legally notified the two channels with their contracts termination separately and in different dates based on the provisions of the contract.
4. Fourth: As for moving the Lebanese bouquet outside Lebanon, this was a purely commercial decision that had been taken long before and has nothing to do with the Al-Mayadeen and Al-Manar case. This decision is based on an economic feasibility study carried out by Arabsat to assess whether or not to continue with the broadcast of the Lebanese Bouquet from inside Lebanon, due to the limited number of channels currently transmitted from there.