French media body moves against Al-Manar TV

8th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 7 (AFP) - French media authorities Tuesday launched a procedure against Lebanese television channel Al-Manar that could lead to sanctions against the broadcaster, which last month accused Israel of exporting AIDS to the Middle East.

PARIS, Dec 7 (AFP) - French media authorities Tuesday launched a procedure against Lebanese television channel Al-Manar that could lead to sanctions against the broadcaster, which last month accused Israel of exporting AIDS to the Middle East.

France's Higher Audiovisual Council (CSA) had on November 30 issued a warning to the mouthpiece of Lebanon's Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah to "respect its legal and conventional obligations," and decided to act further at a plenary meeting on Tuesday, the body announced in a statement.

The CSA addressed a letter to the president of the Lebanese Communication Group, which controls Al-Manar, quoting remarks broadcast by the station last Thursday which it described as "liable to constitute incitement to hatred or violence."

The media body will hear representatives of Al-Manar in plenary session on December 17, it said, as part of the procedure that could eventually lead to it being taken off the air.

Al-Manar had received a conditional green light from the CSA to begin broadcasting in France by satellite on November 19.

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."

French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin last Thursday called for the channel to be taken off the air because its programmes were "incompatible with our values."

Al-Manar in turn alleged "Zionist" attempts to stir up problems for France in the Muslim world, accusing Israel of mounting an "unprecedented campaign" to prevent it from broadcasting in Europe, to keep it "from revealing to European views, to foreign residents in Europe, the reality of the situation, the crimes against humanity perpetrated by Israel, both in occupied Palestine and across the world."

CSA said in the letter: "It will not escape your notice that the term 'crimes against humanity' falls under a precise legal statute enshrined in international law... The state of Israel has never been declared guilty of crimes against humanity before an international criminal jurisdiction."

© AFP

Subject: French News

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