Jerusalem – The Israel Intelligence Information Center reported that the terrorist organization Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV station in Lebanon has started broadcasting via an Indonesian satellite, after being taken off a Thai satellite.
The Indonesian satellite covers East Asia, China and Australia. Indonesia is a Muslim country, and critics say this will make it more difficult for the international community to fight incitement aired by Hezbollah.
About two months ago, Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV channel started broadcasting via an Indonesian communications satellite called PALAPA-C2. The satellite’s coverage includes, inter alia, China, East Asia and Australia.
A local newspaper in Perth, Australia published an article on Aug. 21 that reported that al-Manar’s broadcasts could be viewed across Australia.
According to the article, the channel airs talk shows and documentaries inciting against Israel and the West. The channel also airs children’s shows and music shows, and calls upon the viewers to donate to Hezbollah. The article further states that Australia’s minister of communications examines the legal aspect of the channel’s broadcasts in order to report to the government whether those broadcasts contradict the Australian law (according to which any channel which encourages viewers to join or support terrorist organizations should be banned).
The American embassy spokesman in Indonesia noted that the U.S. government was concerned about the use made by al-Manar of the Indonesian communications satellite, as the U.S. declared al-Manar a terrorist entity in December 2004. Indonesia’s Minister of Communications and Information Mohammad Nuh said that the broadcasts were “purely commercial” and that the U.S. had no right to meddle in the company’s affairs. He further stated that such TV channels as BBC also made use of satellites.
It should be noted that the Indonesian PALAPA-C2 is a third-generation communications satellite launched in 1996.
Owned by Indonesia Telkom, it is operated by the SATELINDO Group from Jakarta, Indonesia.
Most of Indonesia Telkom’s shares are held by the Indonesian government, which has the right to veto strategic decisions. The satellite is suited to the rainy weather in Indonesia and the surrounding region, so that it can broadcast with almost no interruptions. It provides video transmissions, cellular phone services and Internet access.
Back in August 2005, the activity of Asiasat, a communications satellite that broadcasted Hezbollah’s TV channel to Asian countries, was terminated. In addition, limitations were imposed on the channel’s broadcasts to the U.S., Europe and South America.
In January, the al-Manar channel started broadcasting via Thaisat, a communications satellite operated by a Thai company that covered Southeast Asia.
However, Thaicom officially announced that it was taking al-Manar off its satellite starting Jan. 11.
Now, however, Hezbollah has recovered from the blow it took in Thailand by broadcasting al-Manar via the Indonesian communications satellite.
The significance of this development is said to be that it now allows Hezbollah and Iran to improve the availability of al-Manar’s broadcasts of insurrection, particularly among Muslim target audiences in Southeast Asia, China and Australia.
It should also be noted that Palestinian terrorist organizations’ Web sites, such as those of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, now rely heavily on Indonesian Internet service providers, since some Western Internet companies have stopped servicing them.
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2008