A New York operator of a small satellite TV company has been arrested in New York on charges of providing broadcasts of the Hezbollah-backed station Al Manar. It was not clear how the signal from the station was being distributed to households or how many were receiving it. Al Manar can also be seen by anyone on the Internet, for free. Today's (Friday) New York Times said the man, Javed Iqbal, operated his company, HDTV Ltd., from a storefront in Brooklyn and from his garage in Staten Island and that he also provided satellite programs from Christian evangelists. The newspaper noted that Al Manar was designated a global terrorist entity by the U.S. last March. It was targeted by Israelis during the recent war in Lebanon. In a statement, Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York office of the ACLU, claimed that the statue under which Iqbal was being prosecuted "includes a First Amendment exemption that prevents the government from punishing people for importing news communications. ... The fact that the government is proceeding with the prosecution in spite of [the exemption] raises serious questions about how free our market place of ideas is."
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