The following are excerpts from an interview with the PR director for Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV, Ibrahim Farhat:
Farhat: There is still room for negotiations. This weekend a meeting will be held with the French Higher Council for Radio and Television to discuss the legal reasons for this decision. The judge did not make a final ruling to stop the broadcast, but rather left the door open for Eutelsat Company, which broadcasts Al-Manar through the Hotbird satellite, or for the French Higher Council for Radio and Television, to ask the judge to reconsider his decision.
We cannot accept these dictations. Al-Manar TV has tried to accommodate the clauses of the agreement signed with the French Council, but this adjustment was in language and terminology not in our basic policy. Al-Manar's policy is known, and we will not agree to change it under ultimatums and pressure. Our policy is clear. What is needed is to make adjustments to conform with the French decision… I mean, the agreement with the French. What is needed is a better understanding of the French circumstances, because of sensitivities there…
Interviewer: You violated the previous agreement from November 19. You pledged not to incite to violence and hatred and all these things… In your opinion, did Al-Manar violate the agreement like the French say?
Farhat: In my opinion, Al-Manar has not violated [the agreement], but rather has adhered to the agreement. The council, under pressure, interpreted what one of the experts said [on the channel], while commentating on the news about a rise in export between the Arab world and Israel. He said Israel could export several products that contain, for example, substances containing germs and severe diseases. This statement, made by an expert unrelated to the channel, during a live broadcast, was the basis for the accusation by the French Higher Council for Radio and Television that Al-Manar TV violated the agreement.
Interviewer: That's it?!
Farhat: Of course. This matter basically concerns free speech.