Lebanon Bans U.S. 'Image' TV Spots
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP - 20 Dec 02) -- Lebanon has refused to allow the broadcast of U.S. government TV spots aimed at improving America's image in Arab and Muslim countries, Information Minister Ghazi Aridi said Thursday.
``The TV spots were banned because they contained words contrary to truth. The spots say that America is treating the Arabs and Muslims well. This is not true,'' Aridi told The Associated Press.
The U.S. Embassy had been lobbying the government for permission to have the spots aired. In the advertisements, Arab-Americans who live in the United States talk about public freedom, job opportunities and the respect shown by Americans to Muslims in the United States, an official at the U.S. Embassy said.
``These spots are part of the U.S. government's 'shared values campaign' to improve America's image in the eyes of Arabs and Muslims,'' the embassy official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The United States began trying out the advertisements, part of a a $15 million campaign, in Indonesia in October and said at the time it hoped to air them on outlets seen in the Arab world.
Aridi said the spots contradicted reality. ``Even in the United States, there were reports criticizing the pressure exerted on Arabs and Muslims in America following the Sept. 11 attacks,'' he said.
To improve its image, ``America ought to abandon its policy of complete bias toward Israel and stop its pressures on Arab and Muslim countries,'' Aridi said.
Many Arabs and Muslims believe that the anti-terror campaign that President Bush launched after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on Washington and New York, has targeted only Muslims.
In addition, hostility toward America has increased because of waht Arabs see as U.S. support for Israel in its conflict with Palestinians and Washington's threats to invade Iraq if it does not fully co-operate with U.N. disarmament inspectors.