A satellite television ministry that broadcasts into the Middle East is being forced to restructure its financial operations to prevent its assets from being seized by the government in Cyprus, which has melted down economically, officials say.
SAT-7 TV, a satellite ministry that broadcasts Christian programs in Arabic, is being forced to make the changes to avoid the worst of the impact of the decision by the Cypriot government to seize private assets from banks.
In a new message sent to supporters, SAT-7 President Dr. Terrence Ascott says the ministry has been adversely impacted by the Cyprus situation.
“The banking crises of the past few weeks have made day to day operations in Cyprus very difficult,” Ascott said.
Sat-7 Television USA President Dr. Rex Rogers says the crisis is causing a delay in some financial transactions.
Rogers says SAT-7 was a target for the government’s financial maneuvering, and the government already has taken a huge amount of cash – estimated at about 40,000 euros.
Rogers says the ministry is asking donors to look at alternative channels to contribute.
“The call is not necessarily for all of the money to go to our Denmark account. We said that because of the present banking crisis in Cyprus, we would ask that any gifts be sent to local SAT-7 support offices in the USA, Canada or UK,” Rogers said.
The transition – collecting money in different accounts and then using them to pay the ministry’s operating expenses, will take some time.
“Yes, it will. It will delay payments, salaries and other transactions,” Rogers said.
But he knows he’s not alone.
“We are aware of a couple other Christian organizations who have lost significant sums of money in this crisis. Likely there are others as well,” Rogers said.
Rogers believes that billions of euros are involved and that the proposed solution is also risky.
“It appears from the latest reports that Cyprus will need to raise 13 billion euros to secure a … loan from the European Union and IMF,” Rogers said. “Also, a large portion of the 13 billion appears to be coming from unsecured deposits in the two largest banks, but exact numbers have not been released yet.”
The organization said it will continue broadcasting, and will continue to have some operations in Cyprus.
“We will of course always need some local banking in Cyprus and over the coming months, we are expecting to go through many more changes, including a change in bankers, bank cards, banking procedures, and etc.,” Ascott said. “It will take time to see what the economic impact of all this will be on the country, and whether or not the current insecurity in the local banking sector can be addressed.”
WND previously reported that the banking meltdown in Cyprus was affecting ministries.
Religious Freedom Coalition President William Murray said the future looked bleak because many Christian human rights and aid groups use Cyprus banks to ensure aid reaches the intended Middle Eastern and south Asian countries.
“Ministries like mine have to run money through Cyprus so the recipients in Muslim nations are not targeted for getting money from the crusaders,” Murray said.
Other Christian-based human rights groups also use Cyprus.
“Several humanitarian groups were going to lose a lot of money if that heavy tax was put on their deposits. This would hurt those groups who are trying to help the poor and refugees in the Middle East,” Murray said.
Those hurt would be refugees and the poor in Middle Eastern countries.
SAT-7 has been working since 1996 to raise the awareness in Middle East and North Africa about God’s love.
It currently has five channels, SAT-7 Arabic, Sat-7 Pars, Sat-7 Kids, Sat-7 Plus and Sat-7 Turk.
Each channel regularly broadcasts programming that shows viewers God’s love and gives local churches in the region a platform on which to educate and encourage their communities.
The broadcasts also are used to combat misconceptions about Christianity and work interdenominationally.
It also has offices in Europe, the UK, Canada and the United States. It has more than 100 staff members working throughout the Middle East.