The following are excerpts from an interview with Abd Al-Hadi Mahfouz, president of the Lebanese National Media Council, which aired on Syrian TV on March 7, 2010.
Abd Al-Hadi Mahfouz: There is a US [Congress] bill that targets the Arab satellites, Arabsat and Nilesat, as well as several TV stations. At least four TV channels have been labeled "terrorist channels." This bill was tabled after Israel rejected US President Barack Obama's call to stop the settlements as a prerequisite to peace negotiations in the region.
This led to a conflict between the new US administration and Israel. Therefore, there was an Israeli effort, especially on the part of the MEMRI media organization, which was also behind the banning of Al-Manar TV in France... The MEMRI media organization and AIPAC provided the Congress members with false information about the region, and tried to shift attention from the conflict between the American and Israeli policies to claims about the region being a source of hatred towards US policy, towards the US, and even towards the American people.
The US might impose sanctions on Arabsat and Nilesat and paralyze them. Therefore, the Arab and Islamic world must strive to have new satellites, preferably with official protection of the Arab and Islamic regimes. Otherwise, we will face a difficult situation. In addition, Arab petrodollars must be used to buy shares in the leading media companies in the world.
In the face of this American bill, the Arabs should consider the possibility of responding in kind. If the US stops the broadcasting of Al-Jazeera TV – after all, at one point, US President George Bush considered bombing Al-Jazeera TV... If they really intend to stop the broadcasting of the Arab TV channels – why shouldn't there be an Arab threat to respond in kind? If you stop the broadcasting of any Arab TV channel, we will stop CNN or...
Interviewer: Is that possible?
Abd Al-Hadi Mahfouz: Why not?