The management of Al-Aqsa TV has announced its intention to end broadcasting from its French language station within the next 48 hours. The decision comes as a result of a committee decision passed by the French Board of Audiovisual Management.
The Board's decision to stop broadcasts from Al-Aqsa's French subsidiary "Eutesat", alleged to be affiliated with Hamas, was based on the pretext that certain of their programs were "in violation of French laws on the prohibition of material that incites hatred and racism."
Al-Aqsa has confirmed their view that the Board's decision has no basis in law; that it violates both the laws of civil liberties and labour laws as well as contravening rules governing satellite broadcasting and the international press. Furthermore, it was expressed that the real reason for the ban was a desire by certain Israeli and American organisations to "obscure views and the suppression of public freedoms."
The Ministerial Council of Arab Information has been invited to hold emergency meetings and take steps to ensure media freedom for Arab Media institutions. Various Arab media organisations have called on international human rights groups, media institutions and the press to demand a re-assessment of policies of Western interference in the freedoms of the Arab press and repeated violations of rules governing the Arab media.
There is a determination that Al-Aqsa TV will not become yet another victim of such policies and responsibility for the Audiovisual Management Board's decision, along with its consequences, are being placed squarely with the French government. All such decisions must be made to adhere to international and humanitarian laws that ensure freedom of opinion and expression.
The station assured its viewers and fans that it would not be deterred from communicating its message to them and that it will "continue to expose the practices of the occupation and remain the voice of freedom."
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad