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Measure against al-Manar frustrates Beirut

Jan. 11, 2010 at 6:15 PM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Lawmakers in Beirut said an effort by Washington to impose restrictions on Hezbollah's al-Manar news station was a violation of Lebanese sovereignty.

U.S. lawmakers backed a measure calling on U.S. President Barack Obama to monitor Arab news stations that were viewed as inciting violence against the United States. The measure includes al-Manar, the Palestinian al-Aqsa news station and two Iraqi channels, al-Zawraa and Rafidien.

Nabih Berri, the speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, in a letter to California's Nancy Pelosi, Berri's Democratic counterpart in the U.S. House of Representatives, complained the measure was a blow to Lebanese sovereignty, Lebanon's Daily Star newspaper reports.

Berri spoke during a visit to Beirut by U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who was on a diplomatic tour of the region. McCain addressed the issue of al-Manar with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman.

"I believe some of the stations we prevented were stirring feelings of enmity to America and we have the right to stop them," said the visiting senator. "However, we have to consider the issue further to avoid taking similar decisions regarding stations which did not voice hostility against us."

The U.S. government includes Hezbollah on its national list of terrorist organizations.

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