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Last Updated: Friday, 17 December, 2004, 23:29 GMT
TV station put on US terror list
Al-Manar's master control room
Al-Manar's website says it first began satellite broadcasts in 2000
The United States has added Hezbollah's al-Manar television station to its list of terrorist organisations, saying it incites violence in the Middle East.

The designation comes less than a week after France banned broadcasts of al-Manar's satellite channel.

The station is backed by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, already considered by the US a "foreign terrorist organization".

Anyone linked to the station could face action, the State Department warned.

"For example, an alien would be found inadmissible ... if the alien is a member of al-Manar, if a person solicits funds or other things of value for al-Manar, if he provides material support to al-Manar or solicits any individual for membership in al-Manar," State Dept spokesman Richard Boucher said.

Mr Boucher denied the US decision had been made under Israeli pressure.

"It's not a question of freedom of speech," he said.

"It's a question of incitement to violence. And we don't see why here or anywhere else a terrorist organisation should be allowed to spread its hatred and incitement through the television airwaves."

Al-Manar's head of news, Hassan Fadlallah, told Reuters news agency the station had not been informed of the designation.


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