The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:
The United States has placed the television station, Al-Manar, on the Terrorist Exclusion List. Based in Lebanon, Al-Manar is the official television station of Hezbollah, the Islamic terrorist group backed by Iran and Syria. Under U.S. law, says State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, a group can be put on the terrorist list "if it commits or incites to commit any terrorist activity, and that is what we've found." As a result of the designation, people who provide services or money to Al-Manar, or who solicit support for it, may be ineligible for U.S. visas or be deported if they are already in the country.
Al-Manar airs its programs throughout the Middle East, and some of them have been reaching Europe, the U.S., and other places by satellite. One example of Al-Manar's actions is its vicious campaign against the U.S.-led effort in Iraq. Al-Manar broadcast a video with lyrics calling the U.S. the "mother of terrorism" and urging attacks with "rifles and suicide bombers" against what it termed the "invaders."
The U.S. action against Al-Manar follows a ban on the television station's transmissions in France. The Council of State, France's highest administrative court, said Al-Manar's programs "are clearly militant, with anti-Semitic connotations." Among the programs cited by the court was one that made the absurd and false charge that Zionists are attempting "to transmit dangerous diseases like AIDS through exports to Arab countries."
Al-Manar television extols the activities of its parent, Hezbollah. U.S. State Department spokesman Boucher says that "Hezbollah is an active terrorist organization":
"People in the Middle East know as much as we do of the attacks they carry out, the weapons they smuggle, the people they kill, the violent opposition to the peace process."
Al-Manar, says Mr. Boucher, "serves to incite that kind of terrorist violence":
"And therefore, it's entirely logical that if we view Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, which it is, that their propaganda activities through this television station should be barred."
This is not a question of freedom of speech, says State Department spokesman Boucher. "It's a question of incitement to violence." The U.S., he says, does not see why "a terrorist organization should be allowed to spread its hatred and incitement through the television airwaves."