Friday, March 18, 2005

Hezbollah TV banned in Europe...but why?

Contradictory information in the article - France banned Al-Manar because of racism, but the remaining Dutch satellite provider says it was a licensing issue. So are the Dutch using the license problem as an excuse to save face among their Muslim population who would accuse them of caving to Zionist pressure?

Hizbollah's al-Manar television channel, branded a terrorist organization by the United States, will no longer be available on European satellites from Monday, media regulators said Thursday.

The announcement came at a meeting of European Union broadcasting regulators in Brussels, where national watchdogs from the 25-nation bloc agreed to step up action against TV broadcasts which incite hatred or promote racism and xenophobia.

Last year, a French court banned al-Manar from a satellite owned by France's Eutelsat because its broadcasts were deemed anti-Semitic and a potential threat to public order.

Dutch regulators discovered that a satellite owned by New Skies Satellites was carrying al-Manar and has ordered the company to stop doing so, because the channel did not have the required Dutch license.

'We saw that al-Manar was being transmitted by New Sky Satellite (NSS). We assessed that al-Manar does not have a Dutch license ... and NSS will now take al-Manar from its satellite,' Jan van Cuilenburg, head of the Dutch Media Authority, told Reuters.

'As of Monday al-Manar will no longer be available on any European satellites.'
But Lebanon's parliament has criticized the French ban on al-Manar, saying the ruling showed the reach of "Zionist pressure" on France.