Al-Manar TV to go off Dutch platform

Hizb Allah's Al-Manar television channel will no longer be available on European satellites from Monday, media regulators said.

    Regulators said Al-Manar did not have the required licence

    The announcement came at a meeting of European Union broadcasting regulators in Brussels on Thursday, where national watchdogs from the 25-nation bloc agreed to step up action against TV broadcasts which incite hatred or promote racism and xenophobia.

    Last year, a French court banned Al-Manar from a satellite owned by France's Eutelsat because its broadcasts were deemed anti-Semitic and a potential threat to public order.

    Dutch regulators discovered that a satellite owned by New Skies Satellites was carrying Al-Manar and has ordered the company to stop doing so, because the channel did not have the required Dutch licence.

    Outside jurisdiction

    "We saw that Al-Manar was being transmitted by New Sky Satellite (NSS). We assessed that Al-Manar does not have a Dutch licence ... and NSS will now take Al-Manar from its satellite," Jan van Cuilenburg, head of the Dutch Media Authority, told Reuters.

    Al-Manar is the official voice of
    Hizb Allah, the Lebanese group

    "As of Monday Al-Manar will no longer be available on any European satellites."

    However, it will remain on Middle Eastern satellites outside the jurisdiction of European regulators, Van Cuilenburg said. 

    Al-Manar, which is run by Lebanon's Hizb Allah resistance group, is one of several Arabic-language stations popular among Europe's millions of Muslims.

    A 23 November programme quoted a purported expert on Zionist affairs warning of "Zionist attempts" to transmit diseases like Aids to Arab countries.

    Lebanon's parliament has criticised the French ban on Al-Manar, saying the ruling showed the reach of "Zionist pressure" on France.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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