March 15, 2005 | Press Release

CATM Urges European Union to Take Action against Hezbollah’s Al-Manar Television


CATM Urges European Union to Take Action against Hezbollah’s Al-Manar Television

Washington, D.C., Mar 16, 2005 – The Coalition Against Terrorist Media is spreading its efforts to remove Hezbollah's al-Manar television from the airwaves to Europe. Avi Jorisch, executive director of the coalition and senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, recently met with members of the European Parliament and will return to Brussels this week for the March 17 meeting of the European audiovisual authorities. “As European governments are made aware of Hezbollah's terrorist threat, they must also understand how Hezbollah's al-Manar television broadcasts into Europe to fuel hatred, incite violence, and recruit potential suicide bombers,” said Jorisch. “The European ministers of audiovisual affairs can take substantive steps to choke off al-Manar's ability to preach terror on European soil and around the world.” The Coalition Against Terrorist Media recommends that the European Union and the national audiovisual authorities take steps to limit al-Manar, including: removing al-Manar's signal from European satellite providers; pressuring Saudi-owned Arabsat and Egyptian-owned Nilesat to remove al-Manar from their satellite broadcasts, which reach Europe; prohibiting European companies from advertising on al-Manar; and removing al-Manar bureaus and correspondents from Europe. Operationally, Hezbollah uses al-Manar to recruit suicide bombers and incite violence through direct calls for killing and through programming – including music videos – preaching hatred. According to one al-Manar official, the station is meant to “help people on the way to committing what you call in the West a suicide mission.” The experience of both the United States and France shows that government action against al-Manar can be effective. The Coalition Against Terrorist Media's efforts in the U.S. were rewarded in December 2004 when the U.S. State Department placed al-Manar on its Terrorism Exclusion List. Immediately thereafter, satellite companies ended broadcasts of al-Manar to North America. Earlier in December, France's Higher Audiovisual Council removed al-Manar from Eutelsat after the station broadcast programming claiming that Israel had spread the AIDS virus in the Arab world and called for war against Jews and the destruction of Israel. The Coalition Against Terrorist Media is a project of the non-partisan Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. It includes American Muslim, Christian, Jewish and secular organizations urging action against terrorist owned and operated media outlets, in particular Hezbollah's al-Manar television station. It has appeared in the major print and broadcast media numerous times to raise awareness of al-Manar and has briefed more than 75 American and European officials. Attached is additional background on al-Manar.

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Contact: Bill McCarthy Vice President, Communications Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Phone:(202) 207-0183 Cell: (703) 402-2886 Fax: (202) 207-0191

Al-Manar Backgrounder

On March 17, 2005, EU Commissioner Viviane Reding will convene a meeting of the European Audiovisual Regulators. A central point on the agenda will be the lessons drawn from the case of al-Manar and the licensing mechanisms that should be in place to ensure its message of hate, terrorism and violence is not broadcast across European airwaves.

What Is Al-Manar?

Al-Manar, Arabic for “the beacon,” is the official television station of Hezbollah. The international terrorist organization uses al-Manar-which it calls the “station of resistance”-as an integral part of its overall operations. With a stated purpose of waging “psychological warfare,” al-Manar is a potent instrument. While there are many mass communication media outlets owned by terrorist organizations, particularly on the Internet, al-Manar is by far the most prominent, reaching between 10-15 million viewers daily around the world. Hezbollah was the first terrorist organization to establish its own television station and use it, in the words of one official, as “an operational weapon” to incite hatred and violence, recruit suicide bombers, and communicate with its soldiers in the field. According to an al-Manar official, its programming is meant to “help people on the way to committing what you call in the West a suicide mission.” Many of al-Manar's videos aim to recruit terrorists. Viewers are told, “The path to becoming a priest in Islam is through jihad.” Hezbollah uses al-Manar to inculcate hate and incite violence. Europe's strict hate laws prohibit anti-Semitic rhetoric. Al-Manar specifically targets Jews and espouses racial violence against them. Winning the global war on terrorism requires that we view terrorist media as a serious threat. European hate laws are very strict and should be enforced.

Hezbollah's Trail of Terror:With global operations, Hezbollah is considered by many officials to be more dangerous than al-Qaeda. Hezbollah's terrorism involvements include:

• The 1983 suicide bombing in Lebanon on the French peacekeeping contingent that killed twenty-three people and wounded more than 100. On that same day, Hezbollah bombed the U.S. Marine barracks and American Embassy in Lebanon killing 241 Americans.

• The 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 587.

• The abduction of 87 Westerners, including 14 Britons, 15 French, 7 Swiss, 7 Germans and 17 Americans.

• The 1992 and 1994 attacks in Buenos Aires against the Israeli Embassy and the AMIA Jewish cultural center, killing more than 130 people and injuring more than 250.

• The 1996 attack against the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 Americans and wounded hundreds more. • Acts of terror planning and espionage in Europe.

Al-Manar Programming:

Al-Manar programming skillfully combines news, talk shows, documentary series, propaganda music videos, and other elements in order to propagate an ideology of hate and to support terrorism. Its programming: • Spreads blood libels against the Jewish people. Al-Manar has broadcast programming asserting that Jews kill Christian children and use their blood to make unleavened bread for the Passover holiday. • Recruits terrorists and encourages children to become suicide bombers. • Claims that the September 11th attacks in New York in Washington were conducted by the Jews, the Mossad and the United States of America. • Advocates suicide attacks against American soldiers in Iraq. • Calls for complete destruction of the State of Israel through violence and suicide attacks. • For more examples of al-Manar programming, or to view these videos, please request a copy of Beacon of Hatred, Inside Hizballah's Al-Manar Television, at the addresses below.

Al-Manar's Worldwide Reach:

• Al-Manar has correspondents in France, Russia, Belgium, Sweden, Iraq, the United States and other nations.

• Al-Manar is viewable in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, South America, and Africa. It is not viewable in North America and Australia, following governmental action.

• Al-Manar receives advertising from European companies.

• Al-Manar raises money for Hezbollah on its broadcasts – viewers in the past have been directed to four Lebanese banks to make their contributions.

Policy Recommendations:

The Coalition Against Terrorist Media (CATM) – a broad coalition of Muslim, Christian, Jewish and non-denominational organizations – calls on the European Union and the national audiovisual authorities to:

• Remove al-Manar's signal from European providers. Currently, Globecast, a French company, owned in part by the French Government, is beaming al-Manar's signal to South America.

• Recommend to the Council of Ministers to include Hezbollah on the EU lists of terrorist organizations. • Recommend to the Council of Ministers to designate al-Manar as part of Hezbollah.

• Pressure Saudi-owned Arabsat and Egyptian-owned Nilesat to remove al-Manar from their satellite broadcasts. Al-Manar reaches Europe via these two satellite packages.

• Prohibit European companies from advertising on al-Manar.

• Remove al-Manar bureaus and correspondents from Europe.

For More information:

• Please see Beacon of Hatred: Inside Hizballah's Al-Manar Television, by Avi Jorisch, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (published by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy). Copies are available to the media by contacting Bill McCarthy at (202) 207-0183 or [email protected].