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Fear of threat to broadcast media after TV channel owner’s arrest

first_img Organisation RSF_en February 4, 2021 Find out more News LebanonMiddle East – North Africa December 9, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Fear of threat to broadcast media after TV channel owner’s arrest LebanonMiddle East – North Africa Help by sharing this information Receive email alerts to go further Reporters Without Borders today warned the Lebanese authorities against obstructing press freedom following the arrest of commercial TV channel owner Tahsin Khayat, and it urged the political class not to sacrifice diversity in the news media, especially the broadcast media, in the interests of political rivalry.”The arrest of a TV station owner for apparently political reasons is a source of legitimate concern, especially as this is without precedent in Lebanon,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said. “Although the TV station’s broadcasts were not suspended, we must be vigilant and ask the authorities to guarantee to respect its freedom, whatever the charges against its owner and the political scores to be settled,” Ménard added.Khayat, who is the owner of New Television (NTV) and a businessman opposed to the prime minister Rafic Hariri, was arrested on the orders of the military prosecutor on 5 December and was freed on bail the next day, charged with “presumed links with Israel” and “harming Lebanon’s relations with its friends.”The authorities maintain that his arrest is in no way linked to NTV’s exhaustive coverage of the Al-Medina bank fraud, but observers are concerned about the impact of this unprecedented development on the freedom of Lebanon’s broadcast media, already severely restricted in the past two years.NTV was the victim of government censorship on Jan. 1, 2003 when, under pressure from Saudi Arabia, its satellite relay was cut by the Lebanese telecommunications ministry on Prime Minister Rafic Hariri’s orders to prevent the broadcasting of a programme in which members of the Saudi opposition spoke.Another commercial station, Murr Television (MTV), was shut down for good by the media court of appeal at the end of last year, thereby silencing the only TV station linked to opposition groups that criticise Syria’s influence in Lebanon. Most observers viewed the closure as politically-motivated.center_img Forum on Information and Democracy 250 recommendations on how to stop “infodemics” January 14, 2021 Find out more Lebanese journalist found shot dead in car Follow the news on Lebanon Lebanon : Violence against reporters becoming more frequent in Lebanon News News News November 11, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more