لتدشين حملة دعـما لإذاعة صوت الأمل
الإخوة والأخوات أعضاء الجالية الليبية في الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية،
xxx Hart Senate Office Building
United States Congress
Washington, DC 20510
Re: International Satellite telecommunication jamming by Libya.
At the end of September, 2005, a number of Libyans committed to freedom of expression, launched Sawt Libya, a Satellite Radio station. The goal of the radio station was to provide a forum for open debate and the free exchange of information regarding the present governance of Libya and its political, economic and social structures. It was anticipated that the program would help Libyan citizens obtain independent information about Ghadafi’s regime, Libya’s relations with the world at large, and alternative forms of governance. Programs on fundamental principles such as freedom of speech and other civil and human rights were also planned. Ultimately, Sawt Libya hoped to pierce Ghadafi’s media monopoly and information blockade, thereby promoting freedom, political reform and human rights within Libya.
However, within minutes of the beginning of the broadcast, which was carried on the Eutelsat Hotbird Satellite, Gadhafi’s regime up-linked a powerful signal on the same frequency, jamming Sawt Libya's radio signal and knocking off the air more than two dozens of TV and radio stations serving Britain and Europe. The international press documented the impact of Gadhafi’s response, including its interference with American diplomatic, military and FBI communications. For details on this international incident, see the Guardian, a British newspaper's article on December 3, 2005. The jamming stopped only after Sawt Libya went off the air.
Following this experience, Sawt Libya, now renamed Sawt Al-amal (Voice of Hope), attempted to deliver its programming by partnering with the American Satellite company Loral Skynet, using its Telestar 12 satellite. The station managers were hoping that they would now be out of Gadhafi’s reach. Unfortunately, after only half an hour of broadcasting, their signal was obliterated off the airwaves by powerful microwave signals from around Tripoli.
The management of the radio station has asked a number of international and national entities, including the U.S. State Department, to intervene on their behalf thus far with minimal success. We appeal to you as our representatives to utilize your expertise, wisdom, and access to political influence to condemn these actions of Ghadafi and to force the Libyan government to stop this illegal, inhuman hijacking of international airwaves. It is critical that the people in Libya have access to independent news broadcasts.
As you are undoubtedly aware, Gaddafi has a long and extensive history of controlling the free exchange of information and actively suppressing independent sources of media. His acts of terrorism have been well documented since his emergence on the world stage, following a military coup in Libya on September of 1969. He is responsible for public hangings, disappearance, and mass incarceration of Libyan citizens for expressing their opinions. Innocent Libyan citizens have also been killed abroad as a result of voicing their opposition to the dictator's policies. Ghadafi has had a history of waging war against neighboring countries in an effort to quell the free flow of information in incidents when those neighboring countries supported opposition media activities.
Please do not hesitate to contact the American Libyan Freedom Alliance (ALFA) for further information concerning this matter at the following address:
P.O. Box 22262,