France shuts off Hamas TV broadcasts

WASHINGTON (JTA) — French authorities have ruled the broadcast of Hamas’ television channel is against the law.

The decision by France’s CSA, or broadcasting authority, requires Eutelsat, the country’s leading satellite broadcaster and the world’s third largest, to stop broadcasting Al-Aqsa TV. The channel started airing in 2007 and is modeled after Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television channel, which has been designated a terrorist entity by the United States and was removed from Eutelsat in 2004 and 2005.

Al-Aqsa TV often airs speeches from Hamas leaders glorifying suicide bombing and calling for "martyrdom."

The Coalition Against Terrorist Media, a coalition of Muslim, Christian Jewish and secular organizations formed by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, praised the French decision and said it sends a message that "incitement to violence should not be tolerated."

“Media outlets do not openly incite to murder," said Mark Dubowitz, executive director of FDD. "They aren’t used as operational weapons by terrorist groups.  Al-Aqsa makes a mockery of free speech protections which are the lifeblood of legitimate media outlets."

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