Satellite firm cuts Hamas TV broadcasts to Europe
A Gaza-based television station, accused of inciting hatred of Jews and Israel, has had its broadcasts to Europe shut down, Eutelsat satellite firm said Friday.
Eutelsat said its client Noorsat, the operator which handles the broadcasting of Al-Aqsa TV to parts of Europe and throughout the Middle East, cut the satellite signal on Thursday.
Earlier this month the French government ordered Paris-based Eutelsat to take the channel off the air after receiving a complaint from the European Commission that it violated rules on incitement.
France's CSA broadcasting authority 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.
Al-Aqsa TV, which is run by the Islamist movement Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip, will be able to continue broadcasting in the Middle East via two other satellites belonging to Arabsat, according to Eutelsat.
The channel shows music videos and cartoons glorifying the killing of Israeli soldiers, 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.
Israel repeatedly targeted the channel during a devastating Gaza offensive launched in late 2008 and aimed at halting Hamas rocket attacks. The offensive destroyed all the channel's studios but failed to take it off the air.
Hamas, which won Palestinian elections in 2006 and violently seized power in Gaza the following year, is sworn to the destruction of Israel and has launched scores of deadly attacks since it was founded in 1987.
© 2010 AFP