“We are making every effort to ensure our live programmes continue, our Audience Relations teams can respond to our viewers and that whatever happens over the coming weeks and months, SAT-7 will continue its ministry,” shares Rita El-Mounayer, SAT-7 CEO, as the world awakens to the continuing challenge of the coronavirus.
“All channels are working with fewer staff due to the current situation. Rather than rely only on pre-recorded programmes, however, producers, presenters and crews are committed to ensuring that as many live programmes as possible can still go ahead,” said George Makeen of SAT-7 ARABIC.
On Friday 20 March a special live broadcast offering encouragement and prayer support will be aired from Lebanon to give viewers the opportunity to connect to the programme and share how the current situation is affecting them and their families.
“With Iran in lockdown as the number of cases jumps to 18,000 and over 1,000 deaths reported, our broadcasts are once again a crucial lifeline to many, with our regular viewers expecting to be able to contact us and participate in the programmes,” said Panayiotis Keenan, Director of SAT-7 PARS.
As the first case of the coronavirus was announced in Turkey, SAT-7 TÜRK’s current issues show World View spoke out about God’s peace, to send hope into the lives of its viewers amidst the fear and panic caused by news and social media.
“We have a unique role to ensure we are informing our viewers as well as encouraging them spiritually, to deal with the situation,” explained Melih Ekener, Director of SAT-7 TÜRK.
Broadcasting in Arabic, Persian and Turkish to more than 25 countries across the Middle East and North Africa, SAT-7 has over 20 years’ experience of creating programmes to support its millions of viewers. However, the coronavirus is bringing a further challenge to many already troubled Christian communities.
Churches that would usually be open in countries across the region are also now closing their doors to protect the health of their congregations. The regular Sunday broadcast from Resurrection Church in Beirut went ahead as usual on Sunday, but this time, the congregation was asked to join the worship service from home through SAT-7.
“With so many countries across the world affected and many on lockdown, the concern of SAT-7 is to protect the health of our staff and others by adhering to the guidelines governments are putting in place. We are responding to this evolving crisis by ensuring crucial live programmes can still go ahead to support viewers who need encouragement and prayers more than ever,” said Ms El-Mounayer.
SAT-7 UK Director of External Engagement, Martin Thomas, added: “Sadly as we go into self-isolation due to COVID-19 many of us will discover a little of the isolation that many Middle East Christians experience on a continuous basis, when they cannot meet and worship with other believers. But SAT-7’s viewers tell us that it is possible to find joy even in the midst of despair and that it can even come through TV and digital media.”