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PA closes TV station linked to Dahlan

Dec. 4, 2010 12:17 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 5, 2010 9:28 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority has closed the offices of a Ramallah satellite TV station affiliated with Muhammad Dahlan, the once Fatah strongman who fled his native Gaza for the West Bank in 2007.

PA police raided the offices of Falastin Al-Ghad ("Palestine Tomorrow") and informed employees that it was closing. They said the closure was related to registration and other legal procedures, but did not elaborate. The employees, about 35 in total, were given paid vacation until a solution was worked out.

The station is owned by a number of Palestinian and Arab businessmen in addition to Palestinian leaders including Muhammad Dahlan. Its first transmission was delayed. Israel was accused of impeding the entry of equipment.

The station’s director is Ilias Zananiri.

Attorney Mousa Mansour, who represents the owner company Al-Mustaqbal, said Dahlan had nothing to do with Falastin Al-Ghad, neither is he one of its owners.

Mansour said the general manager of the station, Ehab Al-Ashqar, was summoned by the PA Interior Ministry on 1 December and handed the closure decision. He asserted that the station’s offices were not ransacked as the administration complied with the decision and evacuated employees until lawyers appealed.

Mansour also denied that the closure was related to registration or license issues highlighting that its license was received from the Interior Ministry last month.

The PA did not respond to requests for comment.

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