Political score-settling causes closure of privately-owned TV station

first_imgNews Lebanese journalist found shot dead in car News Receive email alerts to go further News LebanonMiddle East – North Africa Help by sharing this information Follow the news on Lebanon September 5, 2002 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Political score-settling causes closure of privately-owned TV station LebanonMiddle East – North Africa center_img Reporters Without Borders protested today at police violence during the enforced closure yesterday of the privately-owned Beirut TV station Murr Television (MTV) and questioned the validity of the shutdown.”The closure reeks of political score-settling because it comes just after the election of the station’s owner, Gabriel Murr, as a member of parliament, defeating the sister of interior minister Elias Murr,” said the organisation’s secretary-general Robert Ménard. “We note that a law that has never been used before was cited by the Lebanese media court as a reason for closing the station indefinitely.”Pointing to the 1996 electoral law’s article 168, which bans unauthorised political propaganda during parliamentary by-elections, the court on 4 September ordered closure of both MTV and Radio Mont Liban (which also belongs to the Murr group). The by-election, which was quite heated, took place in Metn (north of Beirut) in June.The fact that legal action against the stations was decided on when the election campaign was already over suggests political pressure and a desire to settle scores with the anti-Syrian Christian opposition are behind the court rulings. More disturbingly, the court did not say how long the closures would last. Several of the Lebanese media are in the hands of major political figures, including Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.Another legal action, against the privately-owned Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC), which is also close to the anti-Syrian Christian opposition, further suggests a campaign of political pressure by police and the courts.Reporters Without Borders protested against the violence used by police when they expelled the staff and journalists of MTV from their offices. An Agence France-Presse (AFP) photographer, Anouar Amro, had to be treated for a sprained wrist. Forum on Information and Democracy 250 recommendations on how to stop “infodemics” February 4, 2021 Find out more Lebanon : Violence against reporters becoming more frequent in Lebanon RSF_en January 14, 2021 Find out more November 11, 2020 Find out more Organisation Newslast_img read more