Hezbollah broadcasts stopped: Thai satellite firm
Bangkok (Thailand), (AP): A Thai satellite company said Wednesday it stopped airing broadcasts of a Middle East-based television channel after learning it was tied to the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, a company spokesman said.
The broadcasts of Al-Manar were halted last Friday after just several days of a "test run" beamed through THAICOM satellites, said Piyanuch Sujpluem, a spokeswoman for Shin Satellite Public Company.
Piyanuch said the contract with Al-Manar was a purely commercial deal "without knowledge that such a station had connections to a terrorist group." She said the deal was terminated after the company found out about the channel's background from foreign media.
The US government in 2006 declared the station a "terrorist entity."
The Media Line, a nonprofit news group focused on Middle East coverage, and the Jerusalem Post reported last week that the THAICOM satellite was beaming the channel to Asia, Australia, the Middle East and most of Europe.
The Jerusalem Post quoted the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in Israel as saying the Thai satellites had "significantly boosted the resonance of Al-Manar's propaganda messages around the world after other satellites had stopped airing the channel."
The center is a non-government group tied to Israel's intelligence community.
"We would like to confirm to you that we do not provide the ... Al-Manar TV Channel on any THAICOM satellites at the moment and will not do so in the future," Piyanuch told The Associated Press.