Rebels launch Libya TV

Very tight security for Qatar-based net

It must surely have been the most swiftly set up TV channel ever.

Dissident channel Libya TV went on air from its studios in Doha, Qatar, on March 30 amid tight security.

For the 11 days before the launch, the project was kept a secret, people were recruited from all over the world, satellite equipment was imported from Kuwait, and teams of technicians and journalists worked up to 16 hours a day to get the channel rolling.

If you asked anyone working inside the building, he or she would tell you that “it is a total mess,” per chief editor O.M. (his identity cannot be revealed for security reasons). “The team is enthused about work, but they lack experience in television,” he added.

Security in and around the building where the station is located is so tight that it makes access to Al-Jazeera, which provides technical support to the new channel, look easy.

The decision to start a channel reflecting the dissidents’ struggle against Moammar Gadhafi was made on March 19, only a week after the killing of Ali Hassan Al Jabber, the Qatari cameraman who was shot dead in Benghazi, the rebels’ stronghold that was meant to host the satellite channel.

M.A., the channel’s manager, said: “We wanted to launch the channel from Benghazi, but we received a generous invitation from our Qatari friends to come over to Doha, which eased our task greatly.”

Mahmoud Shammam, spokesman for the rebel Interim National Council of Libya, the force behind the channel, said it would have a second launching from Libya’s capital, Tripoli, after its liberation.

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