November 8, 2012
Inquiry & Analysis Series Report No. 895

Al-Manar TV, Banned By The U.S. And U.K., Now Hosted On U.K. And Netherlands Servers

By: Steven Stalinsky*

Introduction

The public relations efforts of Hizbullah are aggressive and sophisticated; Hizbullah is very active on social media with current accounts on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook (over eight accounts have been created and taken down over the past year), and attempts at apps on Apple, Google, and Android. While it maintains a radio station, Al-Nour, its most important PR front is its Al-Manar TV station and the Al-Manar TV website, which is the main outlet conveying Hizbullah's activity to the world.

Since Al-Manar TV began broadcasting via satellite in 2000, it has been at the center of controversy throughout the West. The channel has been banned in various capacities in the U.S., Canada, France, Australia, Spain, Netherlands, and elsewhere. While these countries have been successful in keeping Al-Manar TV off the airwaves, Hizbullah has managed to circumvent the ban with its multiple-language website, www3.almanar.com.lb, which live-streams its programming.

Thus, the effort to thwart Hizbullah's PR activities by these countries – the U.S., Canada, France, Australia, Spain, and Netherlands – is hampered by the fact that U.K. and Netherlands servers are hosting Hizbullah's website.

The 2004 U.S. And U.K. Precedent For Shutting Down Hizbullah's Websites

Countries often shut down websites belonging to terrorist organizations upon learning that they are hosted on servers on their own soil. The most recent example was Malaysia – on November 1, 2012, the Malaysian newspaper The Star published a report titled "Local Server Shuts Down Al-Qaeda's Online Library After Being...

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