Urgent Prayer Needed for SAT-7 Lebanon Team
May 8, 2008
Fighting sparked by general strike in Beirut closes airport, traps SAT-7 staff, and threatens to disrupt SAT-7 KIDS channel broadcasts“We are very concerned for our staff in Beirut,” says Terence Ascott, SAT-7 CEO. “Currently our Programming Director cannot leave Lebanon and one of our key Lebanese producers is stuck in Cairo and cannot return home to her family.” The morale of the team in Lebanon, consisting of about 20 full time staff plus many free lancers, is currently very low. “Everyone is worried about what will happen,” says Naji Daoud, SAT-7 Lebanon Director. “The situation is really very serious and seems to be escalating with one force retaliating against the other. No one knows how it will end.”
In addition to the effect on SAT-7 staff members, the closure of the airport could over time impact the broadcasts of the SAT-7 KIDS channel. Every day broadcast tapes for that channel are created in Lebanon and then shipped to Europe. Many of the programs for the KIDS channel are produced in Lebanon, and if the airport remains closed it may prevent the team from shipping out the tapes. Other daily programs, for youth and women are also made in Lebanon and could be disrupted. The sea port remains open, but the main road out of the country through Syria has been closed and only a secondary road remains open.
“We do have several back-up plans in place should the airport remain closed,” says David Harder, SAT-7 Communications Manager. “We can receive KIDS programs from Egypt and assemble them here in Cyprus, so the channel’s broadcasts will not be interrupted, but we may not have access to some of our newest programs which are being created in Lebanon.”
In addition, delivery of a satellite uplink dish which will enable the Lebanon team to send its programs directly to the satellite from their studios has been delayed. “We had hoped to have that dish in place by now, but the company we were working with has had some serious problems. The dish is scheduled to be shipped at the end of May. We would ask that people urgently pray that the dish would arrive safely in Beirut,” adds Mr. Harder.
In summary, SAT-7’s Lebanon team ask Christians to pray for their safety, for the Beirut airport to be reopened, for the uplink dish to be delivered, and for a peaceful political solution to be found to end the current crisis.