The U.S. Embassy said Friday that the bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives calling for punitive measures against Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV was not a measure taken against freedom of expression in Lebanon.

“This is a bill (meaning a draft-law) that was only passed by the House of Representatives. In order for it to become law, it has to be passed by the Senate and signed by the President,” The Embassy’s Public Affairs Officer, Ryan Gliha, told representatives of local news portals, including Naharnet.“This is not a question of freedom of speech,” he said during the meeting with the journalists at the U.S. Embassy compound in Awkar. “It is about al-Manar which is owned by Hezbollah.”

The U.S. government believes there is no difference between a terrorist organization and a media outlet run by it, Gliha said. The US considers Hezbollah a terrorist organization

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