HOLLYWOOD — The U.S. has blocked the American satellite feed for Arab TV station Al Manar, believed to be backed by terrorist group Hezbollah, a week after France banned its broadcasts through European satellite Eutelsat.
The State Dept. placed Al Manar on its list of terrorist organizations Friday, and the station lost its satellite link to the U.S. on Saturday.
Al Manar is accused of anti-Semitism as well as inciting hatred and terrorism.
“We don’t see why here or anywhere else a terrorist organization should be allowed to spread its hatred and incitement through the television airwaves,” said Richard Boucher, spokesman for the State Dept.
The station responded in a statement that the U.S. action amounted to “intellectual terrorism” and an attack on press freedoms.
Hezbollah, an anti-Israel, radical Islamic movement that has long been on the U.S.’ list of terrorist organizations, denies that it controls Al Manar.
But most of the station’s shareholders and staff are members of Hezbollah, which has its headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon, near the Al Manar building.
Al Manar, which means “lighthouse” in Arabic, was established in 1991 and maintains a staff in Washington. It is still available in the Middle East and parts of Africa.
“We are sorry to lose our audience in France and America. We will work to change that. Meanwhile, we still have our faithful viewers elsewhere,” said Al Manar news director Hassan Fadlallah.
(UPI contributed to this report.)