Millions able to receive Hizbullah TV

THAICOM satellite company begins airing Al-Manar TV, considers channel "news and entertainment."

nasrallah al-manar 248 88 (photo credit: AP [file])
nasrallah al-manar 248 88
(photo credit: AP [file])
THAICOM, a private satellite company in Thailand, has begun airing the broadcasts of Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV. The satellite covers Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, and most of Europe. The Thai satellite has significantly boosted the resonance of Al-Manar's propaganda messages around the world, said the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC) in Herzliya, Israel. "This is an outrage," said ITIC head, Dr. Reuven Erlich. "Other satellites have stopped airing Al-Manar, so Hizbullah has found a way round it." Approached by The Media Line THAICOM said it is considering its response and will only offer a formal reaction over the weekend. However, company sources said the decision to transmit Al-Manar broadcasts was a "purely business decision, which had nothing to do with politics." THAICOM considers Al-Manar programming as "news and entertainment," the sources said. The United States' Department of State decided in December 2004 to add Al-Manar to its Terrorist Exclusion List. Since then, the European satellites Hispasat and Eutelsat have ceased airing the station's broadcasts. "It's a war. Al-Manar is Hizbullah's main communication tool, through which it spreads anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic, and anti-American incitement. It spreads Hizbullah and Iranian values of radical Islam," Erlich explained. He added that the fact that Al-Manar can now be seen in south-east Asia, means that Indonesia and Malaysia, two countries with a large Muslim population, are open to its messages of hatred. In the past few years since the European satellites stopped airing Al-Manar, the station could only be seen via two Arab satellites: Nilesat and Arabsat. The former is an Egyptian-owned satellite, which broadcasts to the Middle East, North Africa, and a few countries in southern Europe. The latter is a pan-Arab satellite, with approximately the same reach.