Iran's Al Alam TV says taken off air
Tehran, January 27, 2010
Iran's Arabic-language television network Al Alam said on Wednesday it has again been taken off air by a Saudi-based satellite operator amid simmering tensions between Shi'ite Iran and Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia.
Analysts say Riyadh and several other Arab governments are worried about a rise in Tehran's influence in the region through Shi'ite minorities.
Al Alam said in November that both the Saudi-based Arabsat network and Nilesat in Cairo had halted its broadcasting. In a statement on Wednesday, it said Arabsat later resumed broadcasting, before halting it again. It did not give details.
"Arabsat, in continuation of its censorship policies and as a move to confront the news networks which reflect the realities of the world, has today once again cut broadcasting of the al Alam network," the Iranian broadcaster said on its website.
An official at Arabsat, based in Riyadh and owned by a group of Arab countries, was not immediately able to comment.
In November, Egypt's state news agency MENA said the operators of Nilesat and Arabsat stopped broadcasting Al Alam, citing a contractual breach without elaborating.
Al Alam has followed the Yemeni government's war with Shi'ite rebels in north Yemen. Yemen has accused clerics in Iran of backing the rebels and Iranian media have attacked Saudi Arabia for joining the war against the rebels. – Reuters