Egypt: Two Coptic Orthodox Church Channels

Date posted: September 9, 2009


 

After a series of failed attempts to launch a television channel for the Coptic faith in Egypt over the past 15 years, two channels were authorized and four more are in the pipeline.

In 2005, The Free Copts Blog celebrated Aghapy TV – from the Coptic word for "love" –  as the first ever television channel in Egypt to broadcast programs with a purely Christian outlook.

It's been a long time in the making, but the first Coptic television network, Aghapy TV, broadcast its first program Tuesday to audiences in the United States. Under the auspice of Pope Shenouda III, the Heliopolis-based network aims to bring the teachings of the Coptic Church, through liturgies, Bible studies, children's programming and more, into the homes of Copts worldwide. "The channel is under the guidance of Pope Shenuda III himself, who appointed a general committee of 13 bishops," Aghapy executive director Father Bishoy al-Antony said. He said the channel would be run out of a convent northeast of Cairo.

Khawater reported that finally (September 2009) the channel gained the license to start airing

وكانت الحكومة المصرية رفضت مؤخرا منح قناة 'أزهري'، التي أطلقها الداعية الإسلامي الشيخ خالد الجندي، حق البث على القمر الصناعي المصري الـ'نايل سات'.وبدأ بث قناة 'أزهري' في اواخر آب (اغسطس) من خارج مصر، لكنها متاحة على قمر نايل سات.وقال الجندي اوائل آب (اغسطس) الماضي 'الحكومة أبلغتنا بأنها قد أخذت قرارا بعدم إصدار أي تصاريح لقنوات دينية تبث من على الأراضي المصرية'.وأشار إلى أن الدولة أخذت هذا القرار مؤخرا لأن الإخوة المسيحيين كانوا يريدون إنشاء قناة خاصة بهم تبث من مصر، وعندما رفضت الدولة قالوا لماذا هناك قنوات دينية للمسلمين في مصر وليست هناك قنوات مسيحية للمسيحيين، فأصدرت قرارا بأنه لن تصدر قناة دينية من مصر سواء كانت إسلامية أو مسيحية. وقناة 'أغابي' هي أول قناة أرثوذكسية قبطية بدأ بثها رسميا في تشرين الثاني (نوفمبر) عام 2005. وتبث على القمر الصناعي الامريكي بسبب رفض الحكومة المصرية في السابق لعرض أي قناة مسيحية على النايل سات
The Egyptian government denied Sheikh Khaled El Guindy broadcasting rights on NileSat for his new channel AZHARI that began broadcasting at the end of August 09 from outside Egypt but is available on NileSat. Sheikh Khaled El Guindy said that the government decided to deny all religious channels broadcasting rights from Egypt. El Guindy refers the government's decision to the fact that Christians were not allowed to have their own channel and one of the questions they posed was: why are there religious channels for Muslims? Since November 2005 Aghapy has been broadcasting from the American satellite.

Arab Church Forum celebrated the second channel

الحكومة وافقت على بث القناة الثانية التابعة للكنيسة "سى.تى.فى" التى يمتلكها رجل الأعمال المصرى ثروت باسيلى، وتم البدء فى بث برامج القناة على القمر الصناعى "نايل سات" على التردد 11355- 27500 "عموديا"، إلى جانب القمر الصناعى الأمريكى، وتم التعاقد مع القمر الصناعى والشركة المصرية على البث من بداية سبتمبر الحالى. وبذلك تكون المرة الثانية خلال أسبوع واحد يتم فيها بث قناة مسيحية على النايل السات، بعد أزمة استمرت لأكثر من عدة سنوات لبث القنوات المسيحية على النايل سات. وتستعد 4 قنوات أخرى مسيحية، على رأسها قناة الحياة وسات 7 والمعجزة البث على النايل سات خلال الأسابيع القادمة.
The government approved CTV – the second Coptic Orthrodox Church channel that is owned by renowned Egyptian businessman Tharwat Bassily. CTV airs as of the beginning of September on NileSat (frequency 27500 – 11355 vertical) side by side with the American satellite. After a crisis that lasted several years over the issue of Coptic Channels on NileSat, two channels have been licensed within the same week. Four more channels are in the pipeline; Al Hayah, Sat 7, Miracle.

Bikya Masr blogged about a call for a joint religious channel in Egypt:

The rise of religious oriented television channels has become part of the framework of Egyptian society, but a recent effort by controversial Coptic Christian lawyer Naguib Gorbail, the President of the Egyptian Federation for Human Rights, hopes to end this separation of religious ideology. He announced this past week that he will submit a proposal to Al-Azhar’s Grand Sheikh Sayyed Tantawi and Coptic Pope Shonouda to form a joint religious channel.

He says the aim of the channel would be “to address common issues of the Muslims and Copts, as soon as the end of the month of Ramadan.” … He explained that another motive behind this proposal is the existence of satellite channels that call for religious extremism and limits its programs to one religion, either Islam or Christianity and “these channels demean the other religion, whether Islam and Christianity.”

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