Lebanese media warns of ban if US hits out at Hezbollah TV
DPA | January 23, 2010
Beirut – The National Lebanese Council for Audio-Visual Media and the Lebanese Press Association on Saturday urged the United States to reverse a decision to take ‘punitive measures’ against a satellite broadcaster run by the Shiite militant group Hezbollah.
The Council hinted that it will resort to banning from Lebanese airwaves US-networks such as Cable News Network (CNN) and others financed by the US.
Council head Abdel Hadi Mahfouz said that if the US bill against Hezbollah’s al-Manar television was adopted, ‘we as an independent council can cut off transmissions of US-based stations such as CNN and (US-backed Arabic satellite channel) al-Houra by asking cable distributors in Lebanon not to air such channels.’
‘We have expressed our refusal for such a legal measure against al-Manar and other channels which the US has listed as Arab terrorist entities,’ said Mahfouz.
The US House of Representatives passed a bill in December 2009 calling for ‘punitive measures’ against Middle East television networks, including al-Manar, seen to be fueling anti-US sentiment.
The bill was adopted in a decisive 395 to 3 vote against media outlets that broadcast ‘anti-American incitement to violence in the Middle East.’
The networks listed in the bill include Al-Aqsa, the television station of the Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas, which broadcasts from the Gaza Strip, and Hezbollah’s al-Manar.
Hezbollah’s al-Manar broadcasts from Beirut. It was launched in 1991. In 2004 it was banned from broadcasting in the US, France, Spain and Germany.