Al-Manar TV blasts 'Zionist' plot to take it off air

3rd December 2004, Comments 0 comments

BEIRUT, Dec 2 (AFP) - Al-Manar television, the mouthpiece of Lebanon's Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah, on Thursday branded calls to take the channel off air in Europe as "Zionist" attempts to stir up problems for France in the Muslim world.

BEIRUT, Dec 2 (AFP) - Al-Manar television, the mouthpiece of Lebanon's Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah, on Thursday branded calls to take the channel off air in Europe as "Zionist" attempts to stir up problems for France in the Muslim world.

Al-Manar's news director, Hassan Fadlallah, said he regretted a call from French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin to remove the channel from the air because its programmes were "incompatible with our values".

"Such declarations are but political pressures ahead of a legal ruling," Fadlallah told AFP.

Al-Manar was authorised to broadcast by satellite inside the European Union only two weeks ago after it signed an agreement with France's Higher Audiovisual Council (CSA) not to incite hatred or violence.

On November 23, monitors recorded an "expert on affairs relative to the Zionist entity" who in a press review spoke of "Zionist attempts to transmit dangerous diseases like AIDS via exports to the Arab states."

On Wednesday, the CSA made an official submission to France's highest administrative court, the state council, asking it to outlaw Al-Manar, which is relayed by the Paris-based company Eutelsat.

"It is clear they will lead to the termination of the contract between the CSA and Al-Manar," Raffarin said Thursday.

Fadlallah put Rafarrin's remarks down to "pressures on institutions in France that are responsible for the termination of the contract and they are means to avoid meeting legal commitments."

"Al-Manar does not have any problems with French laws and values which it shares, particularly justice, freedom and human rights," he said.

"The problem has nothing to do with these values, it comes from the incitement by the Zionist organisations and lobby, which is trying to create a problem for France with the Arab and Islamic public opinion."

"We hope that France does not respond to such attempts," he said.

Should the channel be banned from broadcasting in Europe through Eutelsat, Fadlallah said viewers in Europe would be able to watch Al-Manar through other satellites.

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom earlier praised the French government and took credit for its action against Al-Manar.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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