France bans Hizbollah channel over race hate

France has ordered a satellite television station run by the extremist Hizbollah movement in Lebanon to be banned from the French airwaves by tomorrow for promoting the hatred of Jews.

Al-Manar television has outraged Jewish groups and infuriated polititions of all stripes in France by broadcasting a series of programmes which promote Arab conspiracy theories about Jews and glorify violence against the Israeli state.

The French broadcasting watchdog, the CSA, agreed to give the Beirut station official recognition last month if it agreed to abide by the country’s broadcasting code of conduct, which bans incitement to racial or religious hatred or violence.

Within two weeks, however, the CSA had asked France’s supreme administrative court, the Conseil d’Etat, to ban al-Manar. The station had, among other things, broadcast a programme that claimed Jews were exporting Aids and other diseases to the Arab world.

On Monday the Conseil d’Etat ordered a French satellite television operator, Eutelsat, to remove al-Manar in two days or face fines of ˆ5,000 (?3,500) a day.

Officials at the station yesterday rejected the accusations that their programmes promoted racial hatred. They blamed the French ban on “Zionist propaganda”.

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