Egypt rights group protests France's blocking Hamas TV
An Egyptian human rights group condemned on Wednesday a decision by France to block broadcast by Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV for alleged "incitement to hatred."
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information "strongly condemns the decision (taken by France) for allegedly 'inciting hatred,' without sufficient clarification of whether it was for a specific program or specific content that included this alleged incitement," a statement said.
It added that this was "in violation of legal rules that require mentioning the reasons for that action in a clear manner."
Al-Aqsa TV itself protested the decision on Tuesday.
The deputy head of the Gaza-based station told AFP it had been informed that the Paris-based Eutelsat would stop carrying the channel within two days, a move he said would lead to the loss of 70 percent of its viewers.
"We were told that the reason behind the decision to stop broadcasting Al-Aqsa was 'incitement to hatred,' without any explanation," Mohammed Thuraya said.
"This is the unfair result of pressure from the Zionist lobby on the American administration, which in turn pressured France and Eutelsat," he said, adding that the decision had "no legal or moral justification."
Earlier this month the French government had ordered Eutelsat, which broadcasts Al-Aqsa through an agreement with Bahrain-based Noorsat, to take the channel off the air after receiving a complaint from the European Commission that it violated rules on incitement.
French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said at the time that the station shows programmes which "incite hatred or violence for reasons of religion or nationality."
The channel shows music videos and gaudy, three-dimensional cartoons glorifying the killing of Israeli soldiers by masked militants, as well as a children's show with a Mickey Mouse-like character that encourages martyrdom and armed struggle leading to the destruction of Israel.
© 2010 AFP