Sunday, August 27, 2006

Digital Broadcasters | Al Manar TV Chased Off-Air

Did you know that watching video tapes of TV programs of digital broadcaster, Al-Manar TV of the Lebanon could be wrong?

It is not allowed in the United States of America.

That may be the same where you live.

By definition of the US Government, viewing such TV programs could foster support for a terrorist organisation.

So, selling them is serious.

Look, the USA is the land of the free with all the laws that say it is. Until it comes to individuals or countries, the US Government doesn't like.

Al Manar Television cannot be viewed in America.

The US Government designated Hezbollah (aka Hizbollah) a foreign terrorist organisation by the State Department in 1997.

Hezbollah owns Al Manar Television.

Beirut-based, Al-Manar TV was itself designated a global terrorist entity by the United States Treasury Department in March 2006.

That is why Al-manar cannot be seen in any place in the United States of America or its Possessions or have commercial transactions of any kind in the territory.

Much of Europe is the same by the way....In fact, France twisted the arm of the European Eutelsat satellite operator and were forced to drop Al-Manar from its transponders last year.

So Al Manar TV is not seen in Europe, well not officially. It is on Middle East satellites that do have a footprint into Europe.

Back to America.

Javed Iqbal, a businessman of Pakistani origin, living close to New York provided taped satellite programming for households from all over, with programming content equally varied and not purely Arabic or Muslim.

Mr. Iqbal made a mistake. He provided customers with services that included some Al-Manar TV programming.

A "No-No" according to US Federal Law.

Question: "Who would know about Mr Iqbal, a local businessman and would want to put a stop to Mr Iqbal's distribution of Al Manar programs? (I understand, taped off air?)."

It appears that a 'Mark Dubowitz' did.

Mr Dobowitz heads a Washington-based advocacy group, Coalition Against Terrorist Media. He alerted the US security agencies over Mr Iqbal.

Mr Dubowitz campaigns for Al Manar TV Network to be taken off-the-air wherever it broadcasts.

His advocacy group is linked to Jewish (Zionist) organisations.

Dubowitz is a Jewish name (according to wikipedia references).

Does that mean if any TV station, covering the recent 34 day war on Lebanon, showed TV news footage, or interviewed a spokesman or woman of Al-Manar TV, then they too are also liable to prosecution?

That is also why Al Manar was one of the earliest 'targets' to be hit during the hostilities in Lebanon. Yes it did go off air on some of its terrestrial transmitters for a while, but stayed on-air on satellite TV.

Its news broadcasts went on with a very minor disruption due to several TV studio facilities being used in addition to its main TV news studio.

Anyway, back to Mr. Iqbal.

He is facing a jail sentence.

From all media accounts, Mr Iqbal is a regular guy, with a regular family and got along well with neighbours, just making a regular living.

Post Script: There are some sane citizens in America.

Donna Libermann executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement: “It appears that the statute under which Mr. Iqbal is being prosecuted includes a First Amendment exemption that prevents the government from punishing people for importing news communications. Such an exemption is constitutionally necessary, and the fact that the government is proceeding with the prosecution in spite of it, raises serious questions about how free our marketplace of ideas is.”

Broadcasting is a delicate business at the best of times.

[To give balance to this story, an even hand so to speak, , and to know the background, you need to refer to the web site link below, it is VERY interesting from a broadcasting perspective. You will need to copy and paste into your header the following: http://www.juf.org/news_public_affairs/ article.asp?key=6910 ]

Please note that Digital Broadcasters Vendor News does not have any connection with any of the parties mentioned in this article.

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