Germany bans Hezbollah Sat TV

Al-Manar called mouthpiece for anti-Israel guerrillas

BERLIN -- Germany's interior ministry has banned Al-Manar satellite television, the media mouthpiece of Lebanon's Hezbollah anti-Israel guerrillas. In doing so, Germany is following the lead of the U.S. and France, both of which have outlawed the channel.

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said that Al-Manar violates Germany's constitution, which prohibits hate speech such as denying the Holocaust.

The ban will prevent Al-Manar from advertising or fundraising in Germany and will block the reception of the channel in German hotels. Private homes, however, will still be able to view the station.

Hezbollah funds Al-Manar, its sister radio station Al-Nour and the parent company Lebanon Media Group.

Hezbollah, which the U.S. and Germany designate as a terrorist organization, played a key role in forcing the Israeli army to leave southern Lebanon after a 22-year occupation. The group itself has described Al-Manar as the "first institution in an effective psychological war against the Zionistic enemy."

Reuters contributed to this report.