Thursday, December 24, 2009

Lawfare Against Hamas in France

In a case of what appears to be reverse "lawfare" the French media regulatory agency, the Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel (CSA), has issued an official warning to Eutelsat, the carrier of the Hamas run television station al-Aksa TV.

The station is being accused of violating section 15 of the act governing the CSA which allows the body to sanction broadcasters that air content which can be considered to promote hatred or discrimination against groups identifiable by religion, nationality, gender and other criteria. It is not exactly clear what the offending content was, but al-Aksa TV is the station that broadcast children's programming such as this one, about how all Jews are evil, all Palestinians are righteous and that it is appropriate for a father to beat his son. Or this one, about how Benjamin Franklin had warned against the Jews and that Jewish slavery at the hands of the Pharaohs was not slavery at all, but an honest days work.

This is not the first time the CSA has taken such action. For example, they acted against the Egyptian station Al Rahma, also carried by Eutelsat. Again, in this instance, the offending content is not clear, but this clip offers a window into the type of content that may have been offered. In the case of Al Rahma section 15 was again applied and the complaint appears to have been made by a French Jewish community organization.

The source of the complaint in the case of al-aksa TV is also not immediately obvious, but a Washington D.C. based group called the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a right wing think tank which is one of the supporters of the Coalition Against Terrorist Media, issued a press release praising the French decision and highlighting it as a step in the right direction.

It would be interesting to have more information on what the specific offending content was in this case and who brought the original complaint forward. The promotion of hate and incitement to violence has no place in a democratic society and so this case is welcome.

Thanks to Jewlicious for finding this first.

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