March 22, 2010 - Updated on January 20, 2016

New Bill Could prevent Arab based satellite providers from broadcasting

Reporters Without Borders is extremely concerned with H.R 2278, passed by the House of Representatives on December 8th, 2009. The press freedom organization voiced its concerns about the new piece of legislation in a press conference in Washington DC on March 22nd, 2010. Under the new bill, satellite providers that knowingly and willingly contract with entities identified as "global terrorist" would themselves be designated as "global terrorists". The bill would also consider implementing punitive measures against satellite providers that transmit al-Aqsa TV, al-Manar TV, al-Rafidayn TV, or any other terrorist owned and operated station. "The text is too vague to be considered seriously by the U.S Senate", the organization said. "Countries already frequently pressure satellite providers to take channels off the air for political reasons. As it stands, the bill would be a threat to freedom of expression. We believe it's language needs to be reworked and better defined. The H.R 2278 contradicts American support for media freedom and could not be implemented in the Middle East as crafted today without causing great damage". The H.R 2278 is based on “anti-American incitement to violence” but the definition of anti-American incitement is impossibly broad. According to the resolution, "the term ‘anti-American incitement to violence’ means the act of persuading, encouraging, instigating, advocating, pressuring, or threatening so as to cause another to commit a violent act against any person, agent, instrumentality, or official of, is affiliated with, or is serving as a representative of the United States. On March 18th, 2010, the US Treasury froze the assets of Gaza-based Islamic National Bank and Al-Aqsa Television, saying they were "controlled" by Hamas which Washington has classified as a terrorist group. “The decision shows that the basis of H.R 2278 has to be reconsidered. The US can already sanctions channels defined as ‘terrorist’ by the Pentagon. Reporters Without Borders urges Congress to reconsider the text an its real motives”, added the press freedom organization.
Read the HR 2278
Read RSF's statement at the conference