France clears Al-Manar telecast

The French public broadcasting regulator has authorised an Arabic-language television station close to the Lebanese Shia Muslim Hizb Allah group to transmit programmes within the European Union.

    Al-Manar is well known within the Arabic world

    The Al-Manar station, well known within the Arabic world, had committed itself in an agreement "not to incite hatred, violence or discrimination based on race, sex, religion or nationality," said the French Audiovisual Council on Friday.


    Jewish groups had earlier urged French authorities not to grant a licence to the channel to transmit programmes in France after it had put out material criticised for perceived anti-Semitic content.


    Following complaints, the audiovisual authority asked Al-Manar to submit a reasoned application to register as a broadcasting organisation.


    A top French court in August warned Lebanese-based Al-Manar channel it would curtail its satellite transmissions to France if it did not commit itself to a code of professional conduct.




    The State Council, France's highest administrative tribunal, asked the channel to declare its commitment to a charter of journalistic ethics.


    The channel agreed to abide by
    French state council rules

    The charter is a document agreed with the Audio-Visual Higher Council (CSA), France's broadcasting watchdog, under which the TV channel would commit itself to abide by rules prescribed by the State Council on professional conduct and programme content.


    The CSA applied to have Al-Manar transmissions to France suspended because it broadcast a programme a year ago which included particularly vicious anti-Semitic themes.


    Counsel for the television station at the August tribunal hearing admitted Al-Manar had transmitted a programme "about which the entire management was agreed in acknowledging that it was inadmissible."


    Some governments make a distinction between Hizb Allah as a political party with a dozen members in the Lebanese parliament and a broad programme of social works, and its military wing responsible for deadly attacks.


    Hizb  Allah, formed after the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, seeks the "liberation" of all occupied Arab lands, including Jerusalem.



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