Dream TV channels one and two have suspended all service since Thursday evening, broadcasting only a written disclaimer.
“The channel announces its inability to operate due to the decision issued by Hisham Qandil’s cabinet, banning any broadcast, despite the broadcast’s legality,” the disclaimer read.
The Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU) council announced earlier that they had taken the decision the previous Thursday, before demanding that Telecom Egypt (Nile Sat) cut transmission of Dream, according to state-owned news agency MENA. The decision came in accordance with law 13 (1979).
Dream has been transmitting from Dream Land, a town in 6 October city, but MENA cited sources within Nile Sat reporting that the only legal transmission site is the state-owned Media Production city. Former Minister of Communication Mamdouh Al-Beltagy reportedly gave Dream permission to transmit from another location.
Independent satellite channel Tahrir TV has also been warned about the illegality of its transmission, MENA reported, adding that it also transmits from outside Media Production city.
Transmitting from outside Media Production City allows channels to escape the fees necessary for such transmission, reported MENA.
Dream CEO Osama Ezz El-Din denied to state-owned Al-Ahram that the channels’ broadcast is illegal. Ezz El-Din stated that an agreement with the Ministry of Communication as well as the ERTU gives them the right to transmit from Dream Land. The agreement was reportedly made six years ago. Supporting documents were broadcast live on the channel Wednesday night.
“The ban confirms the crackdown on freedoms and especially on the media,” the disclaimer resumed, adding that such a crack-down hinders investment.
“If you see Dream screens all black, then be sure that free Egyptian media has died,” TV anchor Wael Al-Ibrashy said live on Dream TV Wednesday night, adding that Dream channels were the first independent satellite channels to encourage protest among Egyptians.
“The decision is not legal but political,” Al-Ibrashy said, “the channel is being punished for a political stance.”
Dream owner Ahmed Bahgat will hold a press conference on Saturday.
TV anchor on Dream, Gehan Mansour, was referred to misdemeanor court for insulting leading Freedom and Justice party figure Essam El-Erian.
El-Erian filed a complaint against Mansour, accusing her of insulting him by calling him a “Fascist politician” during a phone call broadcast on her TV show.
Dream channels have been broadcasting live since 2001.
Additional reporting by Fady Salah