Al-Manar before the restrictions imposed on its broadcasts, June 10, 2004
"Now… Al-Manar coming to you… all across the globe” (trailer shown on
Al-Manar before the restrictions imposed on its broadcasts, June 10, 2004)
1. Recently, the German Interior Ministry has announced a ban on broadcasting Hezbollah’s TV station Al-Manar in Germany . Interior Ministry Spokesman Markus Beyer said that the ban would become effective on November 11 under Article 9 of Germany’s constitution, which says that organizations cannot operate with the purpose of violating "international understanding”. No further details were given regarding the timing of the ban (AP, November 21). With the ban in force, German satellite operators can no longer offer Al-Manar as part of their TV packages (yahoo.news, November 21).
2. In response to the ban, the management of Al-Manar TV issued a statement condemning the "bizarre move” of the German Interior Ministry, claiming that the decision was political and legally unfounded. It went on to say that the ban was a blatant violation of the freedom of expression that is guaranteed by human rights laws and international laws. According to the statement, because of its influence, Al-Manar has turned into a target "for the oppressive policy of the Americans and the Zionists” (Lebanese News Agency, November 23).
3. Al-Manar’s director general Abdallah Kassir said that the ban was part of a coordinated propaganda campaign against the station by the "Jewish lobby in Europe ”. He called upon all the supporters of the freedom of expression, including the UN and international organizations, to express their opinions about the decision. He said that Al-Manar would spare no efforts to raise the issue, using all options available to oppose the ban (Al-Manar, November 23).
Implications of the decision
4. By banning Hezbollah’s TV station, Germany joins the international community’s struggle against the distribution of Al-Manar, which broadcasts anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli, and anti-Western incitement, encourages terrorism, and spreads the brand of radical Islam espoused by the Iranian regime. The banning of Al-Manar in Germany is therefore yet another success in the international struggle against the incitement it preaches. Other participants in that struggle include the US (which outlawed Hezbollah and Al-Manar TV) as well as European countries. So far, that struggle has had limited success which diminished access to Al-Manar in the US , Europe, and South America . 1 Furthermore, August 2005 saw the termination of Asiasat, a communications satellite which broadcasted the TV station to Asian countries; also, as of January 2008, Al-Manar is no longer available on the Thai communications satellite. 2
5. Presently, Al-Manar is broadcasted through Arab communications satellites (Nilesat and Arabsat) controlled by Saudi Arabia and Egypt . Those satellites broadcast to the Middle East, North Africa, and countries in southern Europe . In addition, several months ago Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV station started broadcasting through an Indonesian satellite called PALAPA-C2, which covers parts of China , East Asia, and Australia . The international struggle against Al-Manar and the incitement it spreads is therefore far from over.
1 The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center has been following that process from the start. For example, see our Information Bulletin: "Further limitations on Al-Manar broadcasts: The Spanish government ordered the banning of Hezbollah TV station’s broadcasts to Latin America via its satellite company, Hispasat” (July 11, 2005).
2 See our Information Bulletin: "Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV channel has started broadcasting via the THAICOM communications satellite. A Thai satellite, it broadcasts to most Asian countries, Australia , Africa, and Central Europe . This compromises the efforts of the international community to limit the spread of Hezbollah’s incitement programming” (January 10, 2008); and our Information Bulletin: "The Thai communications satellite Thaicom stopped broadcasting Al-Manar TV a short time after it began. That was the result of the public exposure of the services it was providing for Hezbollah (Follow-up report)” (January 14, 2008).