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Political and Legal Aspects of Ceasing the Almasiarh Broadcasts on

Nilesat and Eutelsat


By: Ahmad Kazemzadeh

Following their military invasion to Yemen, the Saudis exerted pressures


on the Egyptian government and European countries, especially France,
and obliged them to stop the stop the broadcast of Almasirah TV
channel on Nilesat and Eutelsat. Nilesat is controlled by Egypt and
broadcasts TV programs for Arab audiences. Eutelsat is, however,
owned by a French company and provides services for Eropean and
Western spectators. The Saudis even used the salafis of the Hezb AlNour Party in order to wield pressure on the Egyptian government.
In an interview with the Al-Bawabah News Website, Salah Abd AlMahmoud, member of the Higher Council of the Hezb Al-Nour Party,
claimed: By ceasing the broadcasting of the programs of Almasirah TV
Channel [on Nilesat], Egypt gave a heavy blow to the Houthis, because
they are no longer able to communicate with the Arab world.
Nevertheless, resorting to Egyptian salafi groups in order to exert
pressure on Cairo once again indicated that President Al-Sisi is not
willing to act upon the expectations of the Saudis.
Meanwhile, France complied with the Saudi requests more easily.
Despite the fact that France considers itself as cradle of freedom and the
heir of the French Revolution, the French authorities succumbed to the
Saudi pressures without any resistance. As a matter of fact, Saudi Arabia
attaches special importance to its relations with France in order to fill the
gaps resultant from possible frictions between Riyadh and Washington.
On the other hand, the consequences of the Housing Bubble in the US
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are still affecting the European economy and, therefore, the French
authorities have welcomed this shift in Saudis policies. They are
actually trying to take the maximum advantage of this situation,
especially through the sale of military equipment to Saudi Arabia.
The Almasirah TV Channel started its broadcasting almost one year
before the Saudi invasion to Yemen from Dahieh in Beirut. As Like AlManar TV Channel, which acts as the propaganda arm of the Lebanese
Hezbollah, the Almasirah TV Channel is supposed to play the same role
for the Yemens Ansarollah. Since Arabic and Western TV channels
(who have formed a coalition headed by Saudi Arabia) try to distort the
Yemens political and military developments, it was necessary for the
Yemeni revolutionary forces to establish Almasirah TV Channel in order
to convey their message to the world community, especially the Arab
nations. Saudi Arabias efforts for stopping the broadcast of Almasirah
TV Channel on Nilesat and Eutelsat is and indication of this channels
success in carrying out its mission.
However, stopping the broadcast of Almasirahs programs on Nilesat
and Eutelsat has had little effects on the transmission of the message of
the Yemeni revolution, because revolutionary committees led by
Ansarallah resumed the broadcasting of Almasirah on the Russian
Express Satellite. Frances cooperation with Saudi Arabia in this regard
once again undermined the arguments of French authorities over their
abidance by democratic tenets and commitment to the principles of
human rights, free access to information, and freedom of expression. As
a matter of fact, free access to news and information is so vital for
democracy that some observers have described it as the oxygen for
democracy.

Legal Aspects
Almasirah is one of the few instruments for the Yemeni people to
convey their message to the world and inform the global community of
the Saudi criminal invasion to their country. There is no doubt that
preventing the Almasirah from going on air on Eutelsat is contradictory
to all human rights principles and regulations. Article 19 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights has actually stipulated that
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right
includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek,
receive and impart information and ideas through any media and
regardless of frontiers.
Based on the principles governing over the broadcast of satellite
programs which have been incorporated in international conventions and
documents, utilization of the earths outer atmospheric space should be
based on international law and everyone should be entitled to utilize the
atmosphere as freely and as equally as possible
Based on the principle of freedom of communication and information in
the international law, which is a universally acknowledged principle, no
country is allowed to deny the rights of another country that is a member
of conventions related to the peaceful utilization of the atmospheric
space. This argument highlights the importance and necessity of the
access of nations to the free current of information. Accordingly, this is
the right of nations to get informed of the realities of Yemeni
developments and the Saudi invasion to this country so that the global
community is not deceived by the distorted news from media in Saudi
Arabia and Saudi allies in the Arab and Western world.