France’s broadcasting authority has called for a ban on television broadcasts to Europe by Lebanon’s Hizbollah guerrilla group after the satellite station claimed Zionists were trying to export AIDS to Arab countries. Reacting only a week after it approved the station despite charges it was violently anti-Semitic, the Higher Audiovisual Council (CSA) said it would ask a court to ban al-Manar TV for breaking its pledge not to incite hatred among religions. The CSA cited as evidence an al-Manar broadcast last week that spoke of “Zionist attempts to transmit dangerous diseases like AIDS through exports to Arab countries”. The broadcast said Israel had “no scruples” about infecting Arabs and Muslims.
Al-Manar is one of several Arabic-language satellite stations popular among France’s five million Muslims, mostly of North African origin. Paris has expressed concern about growing Islamist influence among disaffected Muslim youths. “These declarations could upset public order and violate basic legal principles of broadcasting banning any incitation to hate or violence, especially for reasons of religion or nationality,” the CSA said in a statement.