French television authority stops broadcasts of Iranian station for antisemitic content

Friday, February 11, 2005

Yesterday, the French television authority – the CSA – ordered Eutelsat, a satellite television broadcaster, to stop transmitting the TV station Sahar-1, operated by the Iranian government.

The ban was motivated by Sahar TV broadcasting antisemitic fiction, as well as talk shows in which the existence of the Holocaust and the gas chambers in Nazi extermination camps was denied.

A recently aired show, For you, Palestine: Zahra's blue eyes, in the word of the French TV authority, systematically presented Israelis and Jews in a demeaning manner, as persons without scruples, ready to steal the eyes of a Palestinian child.

French law criminalizes incitation to racial hatred, as well as the denial of the Holocaust.

The government-controlled Iranian media, as the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp was approaching, published a number of columns in which the Holocaust was described as a "historical lie".[1] Sahar TV has already come under the criticism of media watchdogs for antisemitic broadcasts.[2]

France's broadcasting authority, the Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel or CSA, is an independent administrative authority. The nine members of the council are named one third by the President of the French Republic, one third by the President of the Senate, one third by the President of the National Assembly.

France has already moved on several occasions to stop the broadcasts on its territory of antisemitic foreign broadcasters. On December 13, 2004, the French highest administrative court, acting on the request of the TV authorities, issued an injunction ordering Eutelsat to cease broadcasting Hezbollah television Al Manar in France.