Al-Manar: The Government takes another look

October 21, 2009 by J-Wire Staff
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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is to undertake another review of whether TV station al-Manar breaches Australian anti-terrorism regulations.

Al-Manar is a satellite television station operated by the terrorist group Hezbollah.

Australia’s anti-terror regulations prohibit media organisations directly soliciting funds for any group listed as a terrorist entity by Australia. While the Attorney-General only proscribes Hezbollah’s external wing, as part of Australia’s commitment to UN Security Council Resolutions 1267 and 1373, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade lists the entire Hezbollah organisation as a terrorist entity, whose assets must be frozen.

A previous review by ACMA found al-Manar was not in breach of Australian anti-terror regulations.

Dr Colin Rubenstein

Dr Colin Rubenstein

However, as a subsequent (August 26) Australia/Israel and  Jewish Affairs Council  submission to the Attorney-General and Communications Minister suggested, it was clear from the ACMA report that ACMA had failed to take into consideration the nature of a particular charity, al-Emdad, for which al-Manar was directly soliciting funds. Al-Emdad is a Hezbollah charity. By directly soliciting funds for al-Emdad, AIJAC claims al-Manar was in breach of Australian anti-terror regulations.

AIJAC Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein said on Tuesday, ‘It is clear from the evidence that al-Manar directly solicits funds for a terrorist organisation, in contravention of Australian anti-terror regulations. As such it should be banned in Australia. I welcome ACMA’s decision to review its previous finding.’

AIJAC also praised the statement by South Australian Senator Simon Birmingham, who called for a toughening of Australian anti-terror regulations should the new ACMA review once again find al-Manar not in breach of Australian regulations.

AIJAC’s submission to the Attorney-General and Communications Minister made the same point, suggesting that it is reprehensible that a media organisation, regardless of whether it directly recruits terrorists or solicits funds, be allowed to encourage people to become terrorists.

Dr. Rubenstein said on Tuesday, ‘I congratulate Senator Birmingham on his courageous call for the toughening of Australia’s anti-terror regulations. He is quite correct in asserting that any television station glorifying terrorism and regularly broadcasting grossly antisemitic material should be banned in this country.’

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