About 50 private cable operators in Beirut have stopped distributing the French public channel TV5 in retaliation for the French decision to ban the Arab TV channel al-Manar, seen as the mouthpiece of the Hizbollah group. The Arab channel has also been added to the US State Department’s list of suspected terrorist organisations. A spokesman for the cable operators said the decision to halt distribution of TV5 in Beirut is just a first step, and companies in other Lebanese regions will be asked to do likewise. However, cable operators in al-Ashrafiya, a Christian-dominated neighbourhood east of Beirut, said they would not join the action because their clients were largely francophone. TV5 continues to be re-broadcast on Lebanese state media outlets.