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Daesh wages war against satellite television in Mosul

Mosul Grand Mosque. Photograph courtesy of Wiki Commons.
Mosul Grand Mosque. Photograph courtesy of Wiki Commons.

As the Iraqi army inches closer to the Daesh-occupied city of Mosul, the extremist group is now banning the sale of satellite television receivers to the city’s residents, and confiscating receivers from cafés, restaurants, and other public spaces.

These developments, reported by the news agency Reuters, are the latest in the ongoing information war between Daesh on the one hand and Iraqi authorities and other opponents to the extremist group on the other.

According to Reuters, Daesh has been systematically banning and confiscating satellite television receivers in Mosul in an attempt to isolate residents from outside sources of information, and to prevent people from fleeing Mosul once combat is engaged.

Among the television channels impacted are local Nineveh Province channels like al-Mousalia, al-Sharqiya and Nineveh al-Ghad, and foreign stations like Al Jazeera and Al Hadath.

It is also thought that Daesh does not want its fighters to hear of any setbacks and counter-propaganda, with one local politician quoted by Reuters saying that, “They are scared of satellites because they give a realistic picture of the situation.”

Daesh are becoming more aggressive in their attempts to confiscate satellite television receivers, now threatening to cut electricity generators if residents do not hand them over. Previously, Daesh had coerced residents to hand over their receivers in return for financial aid or the release of a relative from prison.

Further, it is reported that Daesh are also trying to scramble and jam the signals over which local television and radio stations are broadcasting into Mosul. One radio station, al-Ghad has been continuously jammed with Daesh broadcasting a signal over its frequency. Al-Ghad has tried switching to other frequencies, and also conducts live broadcasts for Mosul’s embattled residents by allowing them to call in through mobile phone apps like Viber and WhatsApp.

Al-Ghad and other channels broadcast news from the outside world, sermons by Imams that counter the Daesh version of theology, and programming that counters the extremist ideology.

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