BEIRUT: Three previously banned apps for Al-Manar have resurfaced on both Apple’s and Google’s online stores, allowing people across the world to access news from the Hezbollah-affiliated TV station directly from their smartphones or tablet computers.
The Apple version of the news app, which was released on March 9, is called “LCG” and is linked to Al-Manar’s official website. Google Play’s Android-compatible app store hosts two options: “almanar,” which has been up since Dec. 10, 2013 and offers text news and videos, and “Al manar TV,” which was released on March 13 and appears to allow users to stream the channel’s broadcasts.
Al-Manar’s distinctive gold logo and pictures of Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah can clearly be seen on both Google Play app profiles, but are nowhere to be seen on the “LCG” page.
Google and Apple removed Al-Manar’s apps within days of each other back in August 2012 after receiving complaints from the pro-Israeli U.S. lobby group, The Anti-Defamation League.
The U.S. government designated Al-Manar as a terrorist organization for its ties to Hezbollah – which is also blacklisted as a terrorist group – and was first banned in the U.S. in 2004. Associating with either organization is cause for denial of entry to the United States, and financial support for Hezbollah can lead to criminal prosecution.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 15, 2014, on page 3.