US House sanctions Nilesat and Arabsat for “terrorist” broadcasts

With a 395 to three votes, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday requesting that President Barack Obama present a biannual report on Middle Eastern satellite channels that incite terrorism and violence against Americans. The House bill calls for punitive measures against the owners of these channels.

The bill accused satellite networks around the Arab world, including Egypt’s Nilesat and the Arab League’s Arabsat, of broadcasting channels that incite terrorism. The bill specified Hamas’s Al-Aqsa channel, Hizbullah’s Al-Manar, and Al-Rafiden in Iraq.

"These countries take money from us with one hand and slap us with the other through a media that incites violence against American soldiers and civilians," said Gus Bilirakis a Republican of Florida, who was one of the bill’s sponsors.

The bill must be passed by the Senate and signed by president if it is to become law.

An Arab League source said the bill is not "obligatory" for President Obama to carry out. He said the league’s office in Washington did not inform the Cairo headquarters of any such bill.

"The Americans should talk directly to Hamas and Hezbollah," the source said. "Our satellite is not responsible for the content of the channels broadcast on it," he added, confirming that the league had expressed reservations before about the content of some of the channels mentioned in the bill.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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