European Foundation for Democracy (EFD)
Applauds Germany’s Ban of Hezbollah’s Al- Manar TV
Ban order says Al-Manar supports, advocates and calls for the use of violence
***The European Foundation for Democracy is a member of FDD’s Coalition Against Terrorist Media
Brussels, 24 November 2008.
The European Foundation for Democracy (EFD) applauds the German Federal Ministry of the Interior for issuing a German-wide ban of the operations of Al-Manar TV, the satellite channel of the Iranian-funded terrorist organization, Hezbollah.
“We commend Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble for doing what is right for Germany and for taking a leadership role in standing up against terrorism, no matter how it presents itself,” said Roberta Bonazzi, Executive Director of the European Foundation for Democracy.
“We encourage the German government, the European Union and other European governments to work together to ensure that the transmission of Al-Manar TV is immediately stopped across Europe,” said Alexander Ritzmann, EFD’s Senior Terrorism Analyst. “This would be a crucial step in stemming the increase in radicalism in Europe.”
Al-Manar TV continues to be freely available in Europe via the Egyptian satellite provider Nilesat and the Saudi majority-owned satellite provider Arabsat. “EFD calls on Arabsat and Nilesat to drop the channel from their offerings. Al-Manar TV clearly is not welcome in Germany and violates Germany’s constitution and its criminal laws,” said Bonazzi.
According to the ban order, issued on 11 November by the German Federal Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Schäuble, the “purpose and activity of Al-Manar TV is to support, advocate and call for the use of violence as a means to achieving political and religious aims.” The ban order also says, “the activity of Al-Manar TV impairs and threatens the peaceful coexistence between Germans and foreigners and between different foreign communities in Germany.” It also threatens “public security and order and further significant interests of the Federal Republic of Germany,” the order says.
The ban also confirms that because Al-Manar TV incites hate and violence it is not protected by the right to freedom of expression.
Alexander Ritzmann further stated that “Al-Manar TV is owned and run by the Iranian-funded terrorist group Hezbollah, which has perpetrated numerous terrorist attacks, including in Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Argentina.” Hezbollah is listed as a terrorist organisation by the United States, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Israel.
The ban order also describes Al-Manar TV as disseminating “calls for ‘martyrdom’ through suicide bombings” and lists Al-Manar TV’s use of verses in the Quran to justify and promote violence. It characterizes Al-Manar TV’s progammes as “inciting hatred” and broadcasting “aggressive hate and agitation propaganda against members of the Jewish faith, the state of Israel and the United States.”
According to the order, the ban of Al-Manar TV is required because “the operations of Al-Manar TV violate German criminal laws and the principle of international understanding.”
Bonazzi continued, “Germany has set an important example for others. We encourage all European countries to follow in Germany’s footsteps and recognize the threat posed by violent and terrorist propaganda even when it hides behind the facade of media.”
Bonazzi also said, “Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV and Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV programming are particularly disturbing because of the programmes they broadcast aimed at radicalizing children at a young age. Every mother should welcome Germany’s principled step.” Al-Aqsa is owned by Hamas, the Palestinian group listed by the European Union as a terrorist organization. It is broadcast on Arabsat and on Atlantic Bird, a satellite owned by the French company Eutelsat.
Al-Manar TV broadcasts news and programs aimed at spreading violent ideologies, Jihadism, indoctrinating young children with hate, inciting terrorism and glorifying suicide bombers, spreading viciously anti-Semitic propaganda, and calling for attacks against Western targets. Al-Manar TV reaches between 10-15 million viewers daily and is used by Hezbollah to recruit terrorists and reportedly is used communicate with sleeper cells around the globe.
Al-Manar TV was removed from all European satellites in 2004 and 2005 when it was found to violate European and national audiovisual directives. EFD, one of the founding members of the Coalition Against Terrorist Media (CATM), has focused its efforts on the fight against terrorist media in Europe and in the Middle East, raising awareness of the threat posed by terrorist controlled – and funded – media outlets, which serve as a tool to incite violence and recruit terrorists.
The European Foundation for Democracy (EFD) is a Brussels-based policy institute dedicated to defending democratic values, promoting freedom and human rights, and countering the ideologies of terrorism. EFD was founded in 2005 following the terrorist attacks in Madrid and London to support the defense of European civil society and to unite organizations and individuals of different religious and ethnic backgrounds across Europe and around the world.
European Foundation for Democracy www.EuropeanDemocracy.org