Egypt stops broadcasting Syrian state TV channels

Syria, Syria News and Al Dounia channels were stopped on Egypt's Nilesat system at 5pm yesterday.

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CAIRO // The state-controlled satellite company in Egypt, whose president has repeatedly pleaded to the Syrian Government to stand down, has stopped broadcasting three Syrian state channels on its Nilesat system, a company source said.

The source said the broadcast of the channels, which labels armed opposition as "terrorists", was halted for contractual reasons but the transmission stopped as Arab ministers discussed a call for Nilesat and Arabsat, another regionally owned satellite outlet, to cut off Syrian channels.

Syria, Syria News and Al Dounia channels were stopped at 5pm yesterday, shortly after Mohammed Morsi, the Egypt president, renewed his call for a new government in Syria to end 17 months of bloodshed.

"The transmission of the three channels ... was stopped for contract reasons," a source at the mainly Egyptian state-owned Nilesat said, adding the Syrian side had violated their contracts.

He did not give details about violations or contract terms with the Syrian channels, which have acted as mouthpieces for Syria's government and many times have ignored coverage of the violence.

The draft resolution, expected to be approved by the Arab foreign ministers later, called for stopping the transmission of Syrian official and unofficial channels on Nilesat and Arabsat.

Egypt's state broadcaster owns 40 per cent of the company with additional holdings held by other state institutions.

The level of violence in Syria has increased markedly in recent weeks in the uprising against President Bashar Al Assad's rule that began in March 2011. About 20,000 people have been killed, hundreds of thousands wounded and many have fled Syria.