Jordan TV channel launch delayed

ATV managing director crying foul

BAGHDAD — Jordan’s first private satcaster won’t go public as quickly as it would like, and its managing director Mohannad Khatib is crying foul.

The Jordanian Co. for Television Broadcasting (ATV) was set to launch on Aug. 1, but was stopped by the Audiovisual Commission.

The Sufian Nabulsi said “several technical procedures” need to be completed before ATV will be allowed to broadcast.

Another obstacle suddenly cropped up when Jordan Television (JTV) announced last week that ATV still owed it $3.5 million for the lease of studio facilities.

JTV also contested ATV’s right to air as a satcaster across the Arab world, saying the lease agreement only covered terrestrial transmission.

Khatib insists all procedures are complete and accused the commission of going out of its way to delay the broadcast.

“This is unreasonable,” Khatib told the Jordan Times. “The Audiovisual Commission is delaying us deliberately in order to serve JTV during the high viewership season of Ramadan, when there are lots of commercials, which will be a source of revenue to JTV during the month.”

In a subsequent statement, Khatib said his group will go to court to settle the dispute.

“The channel has been gearing up to offer special Ramadan programs and drama series at great cost,” Khatib said.

It had been hoped that ATV would be the Mideast’s first pan-Arab satcaster to become a public shareholding company.

ATV chairman Mohammed Alayyan, scion of a wealthy Jordanian family, is shelling out some $20 million of his own coin for the startup. ATV was established as a limited liability entity in 2004.

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