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memri
June 11, 2010 No.
3023

Al-Rahma TV Tries to Deceive French Regulator, After Being Banned from Broadcasting on Eutelsat Satellite

In March 2010, the Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel (CSA), the French broadcasting regulator, instructed Eutelsat, which owns the Atlantic Bird A4 satellite, to stop broadcasting the Islamist Egyptian Al-Rahma TV channel, because of the virulently antisemitic content it frequently aired. The decision was based entirely on research provided by MEMRI TV. Al-Rahma TV has launched a protest campaign, and at the same time is trying to deceive the CSA by transferring the channel to another frequency on the same satellite.

To view the MEMRI TV page for Al-Rahma TV, visit http://www.memritv.org/content/en/tv_channel_indiv.htm?id=197.

MEMRI TV's Monitoring Reveals that Al-Rahma TV Systematically Airs Virulent Content

Al-Rahma TV began to broadcast in November 2007, apparently with initial funding from Saudi Arabia. The channel is owned by Sheikh Muhammad Hassan and is directed by his brother, Mahmoud Hassan. Like many TV channels in the Arab world, Al-Rahma TV has been monitored by MEMRI TV during recent years. This monitoring reveals that Al-Rahma regularly broadcasts blatantly antisemitic messages, including calls to annihilate the Jews.[1] The Jews are portrayed as the offspring of apes and pigs, and as snakes and vipers,[2] and are said to be the worst enemies of the Muslims, after Satan.[3] The Muslims are exhorted to hate the Jews, independent of the Palestinian issue.[4] On one show, footage from the Holocaust and the liberation of a concentration camp was broadcast, as the show's host, Sheikh Amin Al-Ansari, expressed the hope that another holocaust would be perpetrated, this time by the Muslims.[5]

In addition, Al-Rahma TV often broadcasts venomous anti-Shi'ite messages,[6] as well as anti-U.S. and anti-Western incitement.[7] Programs promoting wife-beating and polygamy have also been monitored on Al-Rahma TV.[8]

Formal Complaint Lodged with the CSA

The Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF) lodged a formal complaint with the CSA, a move that is not without precedent. In the past, the CSA has banned various TV channels, such as Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV and the Iranian Sahar 1 TV – also on the basis of MEMRI TV research.

The Atlantic Bird 4A satellite is owned by the French-based Eutelsat company, and thus it is subject to the authority of the French regulator, the CSA. While Eutelsat leased most of the Atlantic Bird 4A frequencies to the Egyptian Nilesat company, several frequencies were leased by Eutelsat to the Bahraini-based Jordanian Noorsat company. Until now, Al-Rahma TV was aired on one of the Atlantic Bird 4A frequencies leased to Nilesat. Following the CRIF complaint, the CSA instructed Eutelsat to remove Al-Rahma TV from its satellite. Eutelsat, in turn, instructed Nilesat to cease its broadcasting of the channel.

Al-Rahma TV's Response: We Will Continue to Highlight the Hostility of the Jews

For several weeks after the CSA decision was announced, Al-Rahma TV was silent on the issue, until on May 18 it began to air a series of programs addressing it. In an interview, Mahmoud Hassan, the channel's director, said that CRIF and Eutelsat "are all Jews and they collaborate with one another."[9]

Muhammad Hassan, the owner, declared that "I and all the Al-Rahma TV staff and all the sheikhs are proud that the Jews are now dancing the death dance and doing everything they can to halt the broadcasting of Al-Rahma TV. It is a badge of honor for us."[10]

In an interview with the Qatari Al-Jazeera TV channel, Muhammad Hassan said that Al-Rahma TV has no intention of changing its antisemitic tone: "The fact that the Jews managed to close down Al-Rahma TV in France does not mean we will change our rhetoric... We will continue to highlight the hostility of the Jews toward the Muslims... We will continue to present our belief that the Jews are our enemies, because they falsified the book that God gave Moses and the book that God gave Jesus. In addition, they turned their backs on the prophets and killed them, as is written in the Koran."[11]

Al-Rahma TV Attempts to Deceive the CSA and Eutelsat

At the same time, Al-Rahma TV announcedrepeatedly in its broadcasts and on its website that the TV channel was about to change its frequency to 10873V – one of the frequencies leased to Noorsat, but still on Eutelsat's Atlantic Bird 4A satellite. In addition, the name of the channel was changed from "Al-Rahma" to "Nasaem Al-Rahma." This move ostensibly enables Nilesat to claim that it is no longer responsible for Al-Rahma TV. However, the signal for Noorsat is provided by Nilesat, as Nilesat President Ahmad Anis explained. In a meeting held at the Culture and Media Committee of the Egyptian parliament, Anis warned that if Al-Rahma sued Nilesat in Egypt, the latter would cease to provide services to Nasaem Al-Rahma and would not let it appear on Noorsat.[12]

"This is not a media deception," said Al-Rahma media coordinator Mulhim Al-Issawi. "Anybody who understands anything can see that through these means, Allah has guided the channel to success." According to Al-Issawi, "Al-Rahma's managers have leased a new frequency on the Arabsat satellite and on the Nilesat 104 satellite (Atlantic Bird 4A), under the name of 'Nasaem Al-Rahma'... Instead of us being closed down, Allah has employed our minds to buy, or lease, a frequency from the Jordanian Noorsat for the 'Nasaem Al-Rahma' channel."[13]

Despite the change in name, frequency, and provider, Al-Rahma TV and Nasaem Al-Rahma TV are undoubtedly the same channel, as has been made clear by Al-Rahma TV's announcements. It seems that Al-Rahma TV is trying to deceive the CSA and Eutelsat and to continue to broadcast the same content, on the same Eutelsat satellite. The ball is now back in the court of the CSA and Eutelsat.

Endnotes:

[9] Al-Rahma TV (Egypt), May 18, 2010.

[10] Al-Rahma TV (Egypt), May 18, 2010.

[11] Al-Jazeera TV (Qatar), May 28, 2010.

[13] Al-Rahma TV (Egypt), June 4, 2010.