August 2, 2005 | Press Release
Senators Call on President Bush to Act Against Hezbollah’s Al-Manar Television
Smith-Nelson Letter Urging Terrorist Designation Draws 51 Signatures
Washington, D.C. (August 2, 2005) – The Coalition Against Terrorist Media (CATM) today praised the 51 U.S. Senators (26 Democrats and 25 Republicans) who signed a letter calling on President Bush to identify Hezbollah's Al-Manar television as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist organization. This designation will allow the government to take action against al-Manar's sources of funding and organizations that do business with the station.
The bipartisan letter reads in part: “We write to urge you to place al-Manar, the official television station of Hezbollah on the Treasury Department's Specially Designated Global Terrorist Entity list (SDGT) and to aggressively target the organizations that aid in its broadcast. Hezbollah, a known terrorist organization funds al-Manar, calling it a ‘station of resistance.' Viewed via satellite throughout the Muslim world, al-Manar promotes suicide attacks against American and Israeli targets and encourages Iraqi insurgents to attack U.S. troops.”
“Hezbollah uses al-Manar as an operational weapon to incite hatred and violence, recruit suicide bombers, and foster a culture of terrorism,” said CATM Executive Director Avi Jorisch, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. “Senators Smith and Nelson should be congratulated for their leadership on this issue, and all the Senators who signed should be applauded for taking a clear stand against al-Manar and requesting a strong response.”
The Coalition Against Terrorist Media, a project of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, brings together Muslims, Christians, Jews and secular organizations concerned about terrorist controlled and operated media. Since its founding in the fall of 2004, it has briefed hundreds of government officials in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East about the danger that al-Manar poses and has appeared numerous times in national and international media.
As a result of CATM and Jorisch's efforts, Al-Manar has been removed from five satellite providers: New Skies Satellite (based in Netherlands, broadcast to Europe); Eutelsat (based in France, broadcast to Europe); Intelsat (based in Barbados, broadcast to U.S. and Canada) Hispasat (based in Spain, broadcast to Latin America) ;TARBS (based in Australia, broadcast to Australia and the far East). Al-Manar can no longer be seen in the U.S., Canada, and Central and South America, and parts of Asia.
Al-Manar is still broadcast to the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe by ARABSAT, whose largest stockholder is the government of Saudi Arabia, and Nilesat, owned by the government of Egypt . Hong Kong-based AsiaSat broadcasts al-Manar to parts of Asia. GlobeCast, a subsidiary of France Telecom, feeds al-Manar to AsiaSat.
At the urging of CATM, United States and European governments have begun to take action against al-Manar. The U.S. State Department added al-Manar to its Terrorist Exclusion List in December, 2004, labeling the media outlet as a terrorist organization for immigration purposes. In March, 2005, the European Union passed a directive, Television without Frontiers, prohibiting incitement to hatred, and European audiovisual ministers agreed that Al-Manar falls under the directive. In May, French Minister for Culture and Telecommunications Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres called on all European Union members to cease broadcasting al-Manar.
In addition, American companies no longer advertise on al-Manar, though some European companies do.
“We're pleased that in the United States and Europe, many officials and private companies have taken significant and concrete actions to limit al-Manar,” said Jorisch. “But we recognize that much more needs to be done to eliminate its threat. We hope the Bush Administration will act quickly to designate al-Manar as an SDGT and that it will work with Egypt and Saudi Arabia to end their broadcast of it as well.”
To learn more about the Coalition Against Terrorist Media and al-Manar, please visit www.stopterroristmedia.org.
For a PDF of the letter, please click here.
For a list of the signatories, please click here.