France seeks to stop 'hate incitement' by Gaza TV
The French government has asked its broadcasting authority to put an end to "incitement to hatred' on a Hamas-run television station broadcast via a Paris-based satellite company, officials said Monday.
Foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said that France had received a warning from the European Commission that Al-Aqsa TV, which is accused of inciting hatred of Jews and Israelis, had repeatedly breached European rules.
The station, broadcast via the Eutelsat satellite operator, shows programmes which "incite hatred or violence for reasons of religion or nationality," Valero told reporters.
He said French authorities were confident the CSA broadcast authority would take rapid action to ensure content broadcast via satellites owned by French-based firms and beamed into the EU respected French and EU law.
The CSA in 2008 and 2009 warned Eutelsat about breaching French laws that ban incitement to hatred, but these warnings did not lead to any change in the content broadcast via its satellites.
Eutelsat said in a statement that it had always strictly complied with decisions taken by the CSA.
"In 2008 and in 2009, when the CSA informed us of its decisions concerning Al Aqsa, we immediately contacted our client Noorsat, the operator which handles the broadcasting of the Al Aqsa channel within its bouquet of programmes," it said.
"Eutelsat at that time stressed to Noorsat the necessity for the Al Aqsa channel to comply with" EU directives, the firm said.
Al Aqsa TV is run by Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip.
© 2010 AFP