Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

MEP's intervention persuades Spain to act against terrorist TV

14th July 2005

Charles Tannock praises decision to take al-Manar off-air

BRUSSELS, 14 July 2005 - The Spanish Government has blocked transmission of Hezbollah TV channel al-Manar after the intervention of Charles Tannock MEP, Conservative foreign affairs spokesman in the European Parliament.

Al-Manar, which encourages terrorism, suicide bombings and racial hatred, was broadcast in Spain through the Hispasat satellite. Dr Tannock tabled a parliamentary question to the Commission and Council requesting the Spanish Government's compliance with the European Directive on Television Without Frontiers, which contains strict rules against the broadcasting of inflammatory material. Spain has since blocked transmission of al-Manar.

Dr Tannock subsequently asked the British Europe Minister Douglas Alexander, who was at the Parliament question time session as part of the UK's Presidency of the EU - to raise the same issue with the governments of Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Both countries own and operate TV satellites which broadcast al-Manar across Europe, outside the scope of the directive.

Dr Tannock said:

"Hezbollah uses al-Manar TV to spread hatred and incite people to commit terrorist acts against innocent civilians. After the tragedy of the terrorist attacks London - the city I represent - every effort must be now made by the EU to prevent further brainwashing of vulnerable young people by fundamentalist religious extremists.

"I am glad the Spanish Government has taken such prompt action. I have asked the British Presidency of the EU to raise this matter with Egypt and Saudi Arabia, both of whom continue to operate satellites which broadcast al-Manar across Europe.

"Our allies in the Arab world have pledged full co-operation in our fight against terrorism and they must now come good on their assurances.

"The Council and Commission's response will show how seriously they take this issue. Although Hezbollah is regrettably not yet on the EU's list of terrorist organisations, it must nevertheless not be allowed to spread hate-filled propaganda on our continent."