AMMAN — Police sealed the premises of ATV, Jordan’s first private TV station, with red wax on Thursday, according to the channel’s spokesperson.
“Law enforcement personnel came this morning [Thursday] to the channel’s headquarters in the Khalda area and sealed it with red wax without any notification,” ATV Spokesperson Raed Haddad told The Jordan Times.
The closure came after Capital Bank won a lawsuit against the former owners of ATV, who owe the bank around JD12 million, Haddad said in a phone interview.
ATV’s initial broadcast was halted on August 1, 2007 by the Audiovisual Commission over incomplete paperwork.
A week later, the launch faced a new hurdle after Jordan Radio and Television Corporation insisted that an agreement between the two establishments only covered terrestrial transmission.
Later in 2007, the ATV company, which was established by media tycoon Mohammad Elayyan, was sold for more than JD15 million to Al Ajayeb for Investments Company, owned by Mohammad Khalid Asfour and Mohammad Abdul Aati. In 2008 it was sold to the Arab Telemedia Group (ATG).
“When the ATG bought the channel, we knew that previous owners of the channel owed Capital Bank millions of dinars, but we have nothing to do with that as new owners of the channel,” Haddad said.
“The closure of ATV headquarters may lead to the layoff of around 30 employees who currently work at the station and cause ATG to lose millions because it equipped the premises with state-of-the-art equipment,” he added.
“We will ask our lawyers to resort to court as of Sunday to reopen the channel, which has faced many challenges so far,” the spokesperson noted.
“The equipment must be run every day even though we are banned from broadcasting to keep it functioning,” Haddad said.