MBC bouquet of a dozen channels went off air on Tuesday evening, including its all-important Al Arabiya news channel. As at Thursday March 10th they were still off air as far as their normal frequencies are concerned, although they are now retransmitting over the region with new frequencies. It would seem the jamming is coming from Libya. Technicians say the jamming is coming from “somewhere southeast of Tripoli”.
MBC has a complete transponder on Nilesat and this latest episode is just the latest in a long line of problems suffered by Middle East-based news broadcasters. Al Jazeera has suffered similar problems in the past few weeks. Last year Al Jazeera suffered signal jamming, although in that instance the problems came from Jordan.
On March 1, satellite phone company Thuraya reported that its telephone signals were being jammed by Libya, despite Libya being one of Thuraya’s shareholders. Thuraya said “unlawful and intentional jamming” of its signals had taken place from within Libya.
MBC is the market-leading broadcaster in the region, and was launched in London in 1991,later moving its headquarters to Dubai. The company, owned by a group of Saudi businessmen and chaired by Sheikh Walid Al-Ibrahim, comprises 12 channels including Alarabiya, MBC 1, MBC2, MBC 3, MBC 4, MBC Action, MBC Drama, MBC Max and others.