A huge thank you to everyone who has been praying for SAT-7’s Egypt studio following the action by the country’s censorship police in October.
Following the return of all the confiscated equipment on 28 January, the charges against director Farid Samir have now been officially dropped and the case closed.
The staff in Egypt are of course extremely relieved, and have expressed their thanks for your prayer support. Farid said: “It has been a humbling experience because of the support of the body of Christ in Egypt and around the world. I will never forget these days and months when people were praying and supporting, giving equipment and helping.”
The Egypt studio’s ability to make and edit programmes has been hampered during this period. Reflecting on this challenging time, Farid said:
“We have been reminded that we can’t take this ministry for granted. It’s a very precious chance that we should not waste. We should really focus and make the most of the opportunity we have to share the good news; to share the hope that we have, especially in these days when there are a lot of challenges in the Middle East, a lot of people losing hope in the government, in leaders and in the international community. We still have hope in God who can change this region and bring hope.”
Officials from the government censorship police came to SAT-7’s Egypt studio in Cairo on Saturday 10 October 2015 with a search warrant. They confiscated editing servers, cameras and other equipment, and detained Mr Samir for six hours over charges concerning alleged licensing breaches. An initial hearing was held on 11 October at the Public Prosecutor’s Office, during which it became clear that all charges were based on a lack of and/or incorrect information.
The confiscated equipment was returned in good condition on 28 January. It appeared that the content on the hard drives had not been damaged.
Farid said: “We are grateful that all the equipment has been returned in good shape, including the un-edited programmes on the hard drives. We’re thankful that the local police station stored it all safely.”
No live shows have been running and relatively few programmes have been recorded in Egypt since the raid. Staff brought in their own personal equipment to use so that some work could continue. The ARABIC and KIDS channels have been able to screen live programmes from SAT-7’s Lebanon studio and programmes produced by our partners as normal.
A better position
SAT-7 still does not know why the censorship department found it necessary to take action against the Egypt studio. However, we are thankful for the support we have received from local churches, our legal team and viewers – and for prayer and financial support from friends of the ministry across the globe.
Farid said that he can see how God has used the whole episode for good, and that SAT-7 Egypt is now in a better position with the authorities:
“We now have a paper from the court saying that there is no problem with the censorship body so if something like this happens again we’ll show them this paper. It a kind of licence that we could not have asked for!”
Please join us in giving praise to God for the return of SAT-7 Egypt’s equipment and for the dropping of all charges against Farid. Pray that SAT-7 Egypt will experience good working relationships with the authorities going forward.