Middle East Television (MET), a Lebanon-based station owned by Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network, has initiated satellite broadcasts. In a June ceremony on the Mount of Olives, cbn President Michael Little threw a switch for the satellite uplink, enabling MET to reach 15 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, and Kuwait.
MET broadcasts many family-oriented reruns, which Little calls "the best of America and Europe." The station also carries World News Tonight, CNN Headline News, and The 700 Club.
Station manager Wes Hylton says that MET, which started broadcasting in 1982, has been generally well received in the region. However, in October 1996 the station became a focus of controversy when it began producing and broadcasting shows in Hebrew.
The move MET with intense resistance from the Shi'ite Muslim group Hezbollah. "They've been threatening to blow up the station," Hylton says. "Of course, we're scared—we know they don't want us to broadcast in Hebrew."
Chuck Kopp, chair of the United Christian Council in Israel, says he hopes MET considers their new audience carefully. "I am glad to see quality Christian broadcasting available here," Kopp says. "But much of what passes for 'Christian' programming in the States would be culturally insensitive and irrelevant."
MET's main focus is its Arabic-speaking audience. "We try to maintain a balance," says Hylton. "Two nights in Arabic, two in Hebrew, and the rest in English, with some Arabic subtitles." Satellite dishes are rapidly increasing in popularity in the Middle East, where cable is not widely available.1
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