In defiance of Egypt’s crackdown on the media, several Lebanese channels have begun broadcasting a live feed of Al Jazeera. The move comes only hours after Al Jazeera’s satellite signal was scrambled by Egyptian authorities. In response, the Lebanese channels have sacrificed their own regional satellite space, allowing Al Jazeera to be seen across the Middle East in the place of the Lebanese channels’ regularly scheduled programing. In addition to Al Jadeed (above) whose logo appears in the top right corner, Lebanese stations OTV and NBN are also airing Al Jazeera:
The OTV logo appears in the top left corner in the photo above…
While NBN (above) aired a special message in a graphic below the picture that reads “We support our colleagues at Al Jazeera and the Egyptian people.”
Al Jazeera, in turn, aired a message thanking the Lebanese broadcasters for their support:
By lending their satellite time to Al Jazeera, the Lebanese channels have helped reverse Egypt’s move to block Al Jazeera’s regional satellite footprint, which was accomplished by cutting off its access to NileSat, a major satellite operator based in Egypt. As a result, Al Jazeera disappeared from households across the Arab world, replaced by a black screen:
And in one case, a major Middle East cable provider, Orbit Showtime, aired cartoons in place of Al Jazeera’s nonstop coverage of the momentous events in Egypt:
It’s no secret that Orbit Showtime is backed by investors close to the Arab oil monarchies.
The fight to restore Al Jazeera is the latest development in a simmering media war that has seen the popular (and Saudi-funded) news network Al Arabiya rally in favor of Mubarak. More on that soon.