May 25, 2005 | Press Release
France Calls for EU Ban on Hezbollah’s al-Manar Television
France Calls for EU Ban on Hezbollah's al-Manar Television
Coalition Against Terrorist Media Praises Move, Reiterates Goal of Removing al-Manar Worldwide
Washington, D.C. (May 25, 2005) — The Coalition Against Terrorist Media (CATM) praised France for calling on all European Union members to cease broadcasting al-Manar television, the official mouthpiece of Hezbollah, the Lebanon–based terrorist organization. French Minister of Culture and Telecommunications Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres raised al-Manar's role in fostering terrorism at a May 23-24 meeting of European Ministers for Education Youth, and Culture in Brussels.
The move follows meetings with numerous French officials by CATM members and its executive director, Avi Jorisch, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) in Washington, DC. Four months ago, French authorities banned al-Manar from broadcasting on its Eutelsat satellite provider.
“This is an important development which has brought the debate over al-Manar to a much higher level within the European Union and confirms strong interest among EU nations in confronting al-Manar,” said Jorisch. “France deserves praise for being one of the first countries to recognize the threat al-Manar poses. We applaud the Minister's remarks and encourage immediate action on the part of those who still broadcast al Manar's incitement to violence.”
Hezbollah uses al-Manar to recruit suicide bombers and promote hatred and violence. 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.” Its broadcasts include programming that glorifies terrorism to children, spreads viciously anti-Semitic propaganda, and calls for attacks against U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
The Coalition Against Terrorist Media , which was organized by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, has briefed members of the European audiovisual authorities, the regulatory bodies overseeing broadcasting in Europe, as well as members of the European Parliament, European Commission, Council of Ministers, and other officials in Brussels and Paris concerned about al-Manar.
In addition, the Coalition provided Minister Donnedieu de Vabres with a copy of Jorisch's book on al-Manar, Beacon of Hatred, (published by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy), an expose of al-Manar's history, operations, and support for terror which includes a CD-ROM of al-Manar's video clips that demonstrate the station's support for terrorism.
The Coalition Against Terrorist Media (www.StopTerroristMedia.org) is comprised of American Muslim, Christian, Jewish and secular organizations urging action against terrorist owned and operated media outlets, in particular Hezbollah's al-Manar television station.
Since beginning its work last year, the Coalition has briefed more than 200 government officials in the U.S. and Europe and appeared more than fifty times in U.S. and international media to educate the public about the danger posed by al-Manar. On Dec. 17, 2004, following months of advocacy, the U.S. State Department added al-Manar to its Terrorism Exclusion List, which resulted in satellite providers removing al-Manar from broadcast into North America. The Coalition's European activities resulted in satellite providers in Holland and France ending broadcasts to Northern Europe. Al-Manar has also been taken off the air in Australia. Jorisch had previously exposed advertising by several U.S. corporations on al-Manar, all of which subsequently pulled their ads, though many non-U.S. corporations remain sponsors.
“While most countries, when learning about the presence of al-Manar on their airwaves, have taken action, there remain a few countries who have not yet acted,” said Jorisch.
Saudi-owned Arabsat, Egyptian-owned Nilesat, and Spain-based Hispasat still broadcast al-Manar, but CATM and members of the European Union have already begun discussions with these countries to encourage them to remove al-Manar. France-based GlobeCast is also being encouraged to stop supplying al-Manar to Hispasat.
For more information on the Coalition Against Terrorist Media, its activities and policy recommendations, or to view al-Manar broadcasts, please visit www.stopterroristmedia.org.