Police Raid Sat-7 Channel’s Egypt Offices
Egyptian police raided Sat-7 Channel’s Cairo offices on October 10, confiscating equipment and briefly detaining the pioneer Arabic Christian broadcaster’s country office director.
Detained for hours before being released, director Farid Samir faces possible charges related to operating a satellite TV channel “without the necessary licenses,” a press release by the Sat-7 Cyprus office said two days later.
Sat-7 asserts the charges are based on a “lack of and/or incorrect information,” the statement added, stressing that its Egypt branch operates under the legal umbrella of the Coptic Evangelical Church.
First launched in 1996, Sat-7 Arabic has since expanded to include channels in Farsi and Turkish, as well as an exclusive Sat-7 Kids channel. An estimated 75% of Sat-7 Arabic’s aired shows are currently produced in studios in Egypt and Lebanon.
Sat-7 has distinguished itself from other Christian channels, broadcasting mainly from outside the Middle East, by keeping a sober and non-confrontational tone, adhering to a strict non-polemical Christian message. It is now up to the Egyptian prosecutors to determine whether a case will proceed to court.
During a two-hour hearing on October 11, police charges were brought against Samir relating to the channel’s registration, said Middle East Concern (MEC), an advocacy group monitoring the human rights of Christian communities in the Middle East and North Africa. Sat-7 is accused of failure to hold licenses for some of its editing activities and failure to comply with regulations for live streaming of broadcasts on the internet, MEC added.
The charges are dismissed by Sat-7 lawyers, who pointed to “factual errors” in the Censorship Department’s report and to evidence presented confirming Sat-7’s sound legal standing, MEC noted.
With a target of impacting an estimated total audience of well over 8.5 million people, the Sat-7 channels have become a household name for Christians in the Middle East and their growing diaspora.
The latest police action is expected to cause temporary disruption to the channel’s expressed efforts to “enrich goodwill” in a region currently racked by religious turmoil.
On the channel’s website, Samir emphasized Sat-7’s ministry as one, “based on love and which aims to serve our beloved country [of Egypt].”
Source: World Watch Monitor
We stand in awe, Father, at the mighty work You do through the Sat-7 ministry. Thank You for hearts and minds brought from darkness into the light of Christ as Your Word is proclaimed over the airwaves. Thank You for new believers who are discipled through this ministry. When Your work is most powerful and effective, the opposition is great. And so today, we come before You on behalf of Farid Samir as he faces police charges related to the channel’s registration. We pray for his protection and for the charges to be dropped, for the primary aim is to thwart Your Holy Word going out to those who do not otherwise have access to the truth. We come before You in faith knowing that this is a spiritual battle and You have already won the victory. May our prayers rise before You as fragrant offering. In the Name of Jesus, who reigns victorious over the kings and princes of this world, Amen.