Last week, Hussein Saraireh resigned from his post as director of engineering and IT at ATV after the Jordanian broadcaster, billed as the first private TV station in the Hashemite Kingdom, failed to launch despite being ready to go to air since August 2007.
“I resigned because I have waited for more than two years to see the channel go on-air but have now given up hope,” commented Saraireh, who has previously worked with Abu Dhabi News Centre, Jordan Media City, CNBC Arabia and Al Jazeera English.
ATV has been mired in controversy since August 2007, when Jordanian authorities pulled the plug on the channel 24 hours before it was due to go on air. The move was alleged to be a deliberate attempt on the part of authorities to inflict maximum damage on Mohammed Alayyan, former owner of the station owing to internal politics within the government.
Since then, the broadcaster has changed ownership several times. However, it is still to go to air although it invested more than US $70 million in putting together its broadcast facility. The state-of-the-art facility was one of the highlights of Digital Studio’s September 2007 issue.
“I joined ATV in March 2007 after I moved from AL Jazeera English. They had some critical technical problems, which I resolved within three months of joining there. Everything was ready and we were excited to go to air on August 1, 2007, but one day before the launch, they cancelled the launch and gave us no explanation for the decision. In 2007, a new investor bought the channel; in July 2008 someone else bought the channel. I don’t think the channel will ever go to air,” explained Saraireh.
The broadcast head, who won Digital Studio’s Broadcast Engineer of the Year award last year for his outstanding contribution to the Arab broadcast world, stated that he is now looking to pursue new opportunities in the market or enter the broadcast consulting business.