FOUNDER TERENCE ASCOTT IN 20th ANNIVERSARY BROADCAST INTERVIEW
In an interview specially screened to mark Christian TV broadcaster SAT-7’s 20th anniversary year, founder and CEO Dr Terence Ascott encouraged viewers to test what they hear and to be open to fresh perspectives. Appearing on Forbidden, a talk show on SAT-7 ARABIC that tackles controversial and taboo topics, Dr Ascott talked about why SAT-7 exists, why it has grown so spectacularly over the last two decades and why it remains so relevant today.
Stressing the importance of diversity and the part it plays in SAT-7’s ministry, he said: “The power of diversity is that we can learn. It brings people together to sharpen each other; to challenge each other’s ideas, thinking, attitudes and opinions. Sometimes we just like to huddle together with those who share our opinions – but we don’t grow that way.”
Dr Ascott encouraged viewers also to explore other people’s perspectives: “The truth is your friend. But discovering what the truth is another challenge. Do you know that something is true when you hear it? It might resonate with your conscience, with your belief system, but is it really true?”
SAT-7 started broadcasting Christian TV programmes across the Arab world in 1996 – initially for just two hours a week. Over the last two decades, the ministry has grown into a network of five channels, in several languages, each broadcasting 24/7. This was described by Dr Ascott as “unthinkable” at the beginning.
Dr Ascott said SAT-7 has two fundamental purposes “One is to make the Christian faith, the Gospel, available to anyone across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) – half a billion people – including many who want to know what Christ taught and what Christ means.
“Satellite TV is a very good way to reach them, especially women, children, the illiterate, people stuck at home, people who don’t normally meet a Christian, who can never go to a church, nor ask anyone about the Christian faith.
“Secondly, we want to support, encourage and help the Church in its life, work and witness for Christ: to be salt and light, to make a positive contribution to and help change society for the better.” Given the grave problems facing the MENA region today – including wars, emigration, poverty, radicalism, hate, to name just a few – the programme asked Dr Ascott if SAT-7, TV with a Christian message, is still relevant.
Arguing that it is even more relevant today than it was 20 years ago, he stressed that, whilst the Internet is censored, inaccessible or too expensive in many places, TV remains a very strategic and cost-effective way of sharing Christian truth.
“Wars have displaced many Christians in the Middle East and with it has been displaced Christian witness and service from many areas. Yet SAT-7 can still broadcast into people’s homes in these most difficult areas, bringing a message of peace and reconciliation; it can address issues of trauma; it can bring literacy and education for children who’ve been displaced from school.”
To mark the 20th anniversary, SAT-7 UK launched its Answer the Cry campaign earlier this year. The campaign focuses on four particular areas and asks UK Christians to help answer those cries. They are, firstly, the Cry for Worth, from MENA women who suffer from the lower status imposed upon many women in the region. Secondly, the Cry for Strength, from the persecuted church where only 4% of the region’s population is Christian. Thirdly, the Cry for Meaning, from young men in an area with the highest unemployment rate in the world and where 50% of the young men simply cannot afford to get married and have a family. And finally the Cry for Peace, from children across the war-torn region who have suffered devastating emotional and psychological harm.
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Enquiries: Iain Taylor | Taylor Communications | 07979 914217
Notes to Editors
SAT-7 launched in May 1996 and has its international headquarters in Cyprus. It broadcasts Christian satellite television to more than 20m people in the Middle East and North Africa. SAT-7 broadcasts in Arabic, Farsi, and Turkish languages on 5 channels: SAT-7 ARABIC, SAT-7 KIDS, SAT-7 PLUS, SAT-7 PARS, and SAT-7 TÜRK.