Palestinian minister: Pirate stations will be shut down

The Telecommunications Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Mashhur Abu Daqa, said yesterday that his ministry would close down local radio and television stations operating without licences. Mr Abu Daqa said 30 of the 130 stations in the West Bank do not have licences, and while some have responded to ministerial requests to amend this situation, others have failed to do so including some which have been broadcasting unlicensed for 20 years. His ministry has formed a committee with the information and interior ministries to address this issue, setting a deadline by which pirate stations must obtain licences or be shut down. A number of local stations received orders to stop transmissions if they do not obtain licences within one month. The ministry’s licensing director, Ahmad Muneizel, said if stations do not comply with the regulations, their frequencies will be withdrawn. The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate expressed its solidarity with the stations threatened with closure, but added that they must abide with the ministry’s demands


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