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ACMA says ‘OK’ to Hezbollah, but ‘No Way’ to Lezbollah

August 24, 2009 – 11:03 pm3 Comments

Source: Arabinfo.org

Source: Arabinfo.org

Hezbollah comes to the Idiot Box

by Anthony Frosh

Many of our readers are by now aware that Al-Manar, Hezbollah’s ‘television wing’ is coming back to Australian screens, at least for those with satellite dishes and the necessary subscription.  A lot has already been written on this, so I’ll try not to go over old ground too much.   Colin Rubinstein, executive director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), has made a number of good arguments for banning Al-Manar in his article in The Age.

However, while I agree with Dr Rubinstein on the nature of Hezbollah, I’m not sure banning their television broadcasts is worthwhile. Even putting aside complex arguments about free-speech, in the era of broadband internet, banning media content is probably futile.  Far better than banning terrorist-television is to translate it (as the MEMRI organisations does) and make it available so that the uninformed can see exactly the kind of vile content that Al-Manar puts to air.

Of course, there is an additional issue here.  Even though I see a ban on Al-Manar as being of little if any value, I find the decision by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to be a bit odd when you consider some of the other things they have banned from our airwaves.  After all, this is the organisation that considered Network Ten’s inane Big Brother: Uncut too radical for our screens.  Thus here we have an organisation that bizarrely says OK to Hezbollah, but would probably say ‘No Way’ to Lezbollah.

Perhaps it’s time for a re-examination of ACMA, and the role it plays in our society.

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