17 August 2005 DAMASCUS

The vote giving Murr Television, known as MTV, the right to resume broadcasting, is another reflection of the changes to the country’s political landscape since Syria withdrew its troops from Lebanon in April, bringing its military presence to an end after 29 years.

It was not clear how many of the 128 legislators were present during the vote which took place by a show of hands, however the decision to reopen the station had the support of all the major blocs in the house.

The Sept. 5, 2002 closure of MTV and its sister radio station was widely condemned as a violation of freedom of opinion in the country. It was closed for violating an election law prohibiting propaganda during a fiercely contested by-election that became a showdown between the pro-Syrian government and the anti-Syrian opposition.