Sahar 1 TV in Arabic - an international service of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting - was observed on 31 January and 1 February to carry the following announcement in its news bar:
“We would like to draw to the attention of our dear viewers that Sahar Television has decided to change its name to Al-Kawthar.” Kawthar is an Arabic word meaning source of abundance and is also the name of a Koranic sura.
Additionally, the station was observed to show a logo carrying the new name in the upper right of the screen along with the old Sahar 1 logo in the upper left corner.
The renamed channel has an internet site in Arabic at www.alkawthartv.ir. The site says that the channel aims to reflect “pure Muhammadan Islam” and will carry “religious, cultural, political, economic and social” programmes. Broadcasts are from 0630-2230 gmt daily, with news bulletins scheduled at 0730, 1230, 1630 and 2030 gmt.
Al-Kawthar broadcasts on Nilesat 102 at 7 degrees west, 11919 MHz, horizontal polarity, symbol rate 27500, FEC 3/4.
The other Sahar channel, Sahar 2, continues to broadcast on the Hot Bird 3 satellite at 13 degrees east, 12437 MHz, horizontal polarity, symbol rate 27500, FEC 3/4. It too has a new website, at www.saharirib.ir, which announces programming in English, French, Kurdish, Bosnian, Azeri and Urdu.
In February 2005 the French Higher Broadcasting Council ordered Eutelsat to halt transmissions to France of Sahar Channel 1 for broadcasting programmes that were anti-Semitic and an incitement to racial hatred. On 26 January 2006 Radio Netherlands reported that the Dutch justice minister had imposed a ban on Sahar 1 and the Lebanese channel Al-Manar because they broadcast hate material.
(Source: BBC Monitoring research 1 Feb 06)