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Israel considering ban on Al-Jazeera

g and compass

The Times of India

Israel considering ban on Al-Jazeera


JERUSALEM: Israel said on Saturday it is considering blocking cable television subscribers from receiving the Arabic Al-Jazeera satellite television network, due to its "incitement" against the Jewish state.

"This possibility is being examined, because the chain serves as a platform for incitement" against Israel, Communications Minister Reuven Rivlin told AFP.

He was addressing concerns about the channel's effect on the country's Israeli Arab minority.

He said, however, that there had been no decision.

Rivlin emphasised any ban would "have nothing to do" with al-Jazeera's coverage of US-led air strikes against Afghanistan and its guest Osama bin Laden, the chief suspect in the September 11 attacks.

The minister said the edict would only affect cable television subscribers, and that the government would be unable to do anything about satellite customers.

Even before the September 11 terror attacks, the channel had a wide following among Palestinians and Israeli Arabs for its coverage of the 13-month Palestinian intifada, or uprising, against Israel.

Since the start of the US-led campaign in Afghanistan on October 7, Al-Jazeera has been the only network allowed to broadcast images from zones controlled by the country's ruling Taliban regime.

It has also aired two personal messages from bin Laden.

Top US officials, including Secretary of State Colin Powell, initially bristled at Al-Jazeera's coverage of the US war on terrorism, but now courts its reporters.

France's media watchdog, Conseil Superieur de Audiovisuel (CSA), had called in Al-Jazeera staff last week over about some Afghanistan coverage and conspiracy theories related to Israel.

In a programme broadcast on a French state-owned channel, one of Al-Jazeera's top reporters repeated a rumour that none of the 4,000 Jewish people who would normally be working in the World Trade Centre on September 11 had turned up for work on the day of the terror attack.

He said he believed this showed Israel's secret service was behind the attack.

( AFP )

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