France Telecom accused of helping Hezbollah

21st July 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 20 (AFP) - The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish lobby group, on Wednesday accused France Telecom of helping Al-Manar television, the mouthpiece of the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, to broadcast in Asia and Latin America.

PARIS, July 20 (AFP) - The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish lobby group, on Wednesday accused France Telecom of helping Al-Manar television, the mouthpiece of the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, to broadcast in Asia and Latin America.

The centre, known primarily for its Nazi-hunting activities, said in a statement that France Telecom subsidiary Globecast was providing Al-Manar to Latin America through Spanish satellite provider Hispasat.

In Asia, the Wiesenthal Center said that Globecast was at fault for using Asiasat to offer Al-Manar programming.

France Telecom, by continuing to condone the activities of Globecast and its contractors, would be complicit and accountable for any attacks committed against Jews in Latin America or Asia, the group said in its statement.

The Wiesenthal Center sent a formal letter of complaint about France Telecom's activities to French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.

France's highest administrative court, the Council of State, last year ordered satellite company Eutelsat to stop Al-Manar broadcasts in the European Union, saying the channel had violated laws against inciting racial hatred.

Al-Manar had been broadcast in Europe via Paris-based Eutelsat as part of a package of nine channels put out by Saudi-based Arabsat.

France's broadcast regulator, the Higher Audiovisual Council (CSA), put the case before the court after Al-Manar broadcast a statement in November 2004 by a speaker accusing Israel of disseminating AIDS in the Arab world.

Hezbollah is both a political party in Lebanon and a militia group which from time to time launches cross-border attacks against Israel. It is viewed by the United States and some European countries as a terrorist organization.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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