Fears grow of civil war in Lebanon

By May 12, 2008

Lebanon (MNN) — Lebanon's
identity crisis may be coming to a head as clashes between anti-government
forces and the government intensified
last week. 

SAT-7's David Harder confirms
that the fighting trapped some of their staff and could disrupt SAT-7
KIDS channel broadcasts. 

The morale of the team in
Lebanon, consisting of about 20 full time staff plus many free lancers, is
currently very low. "Everyone is
worried that the fighting could escalate, literally, becoming much more street-to-street fighting than what we've seen already. And that is the fear: that more
groups would be drawn in, that the fighting will become more intense, involve
more people and really become a civil war." 

Anti-government forces seized
control of the main road leading to the Beirut airport, sparking street clashes
and closure of the airport itself. Harder said that trapped their Programming Director in Lebanon, and also one
of their Lebanese producers was stuck in Cairo. 

The instability threatens to
disrupt some SAT-7 broadcasts because of distribution complications. According to SAT-7, broadcast tapes for SAT-7
KIDS are created in Lebanon and then shipped to Europe on a daily basis. If the airport remains closed, it may prevent
the team from shipping out the tapes.

Other daily programs for youth
and women are also made in Lebanon and could be disrupted. The sea port remains
open, but the main road out of the country through Syria has been closed, and
only a secondary road remains open. The team has another way to get programs
delivered but at a substantially higher cost.

In addition, delivery of a
satellite uplink dish which will enable the Lebanon team to send its programs
directly to the satellite from their studios has been delayed. "We had hoped to
have that dish in place by now, but the company we were working with has had
some serious problems. The dish is scheduled to be shipped at the end of May.
We would ask that people urgently pray that the dish would arrive safely in
Beirut," adds Mr. Harder.

He asks prayer for the team. "They're going to continue
to try to make programs and, like they have in the past, they're able to bring
in pastors who can speak about what life is like, relying on Christ, in the
middle of a crisis. They're not just speaking about it in theory, they're living
it. Viewers know when it's real, and
people respond." 

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