Lebanon’s publications court rejects MTV appeal

Lebanon’s publications court rejected an appeal lodged by the lawyers of Murr television or MTV for violating an electoral law on Monday.

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By  Massoud Derhally Published  October 23, 2002

Lebanon’s publications court rejected an appeal lodged by the lawyers of Murr television or MTV for violating an electoral law on Monday.

Murr Television and its sister Mt. Lebanon Radio have been accused of “disturbing Lebanon's ties with Syria, hurting the president’s dignity, slandering security agencies and disturbing peace in the country,” reported the Daily Star yesterday. The court ruling provoked outcry in a in Lebanon which is usually held as held up as a beacon for freedom of speech in a region.

On Sept. 4, 2002 Lebanese security forces station raided Murr television, or MTV after the Publications Court had ruled it had violated Article 68, which bans electoral publicity. MTV, which is owned by a newly elected opposition parliamentarian, Gabriel Murr, was accused of broadcasting footage to influence the election in his favour. Gabriel Murr won the Metn by-elections and defeated his niece, Mirna Murr, the sister of Interior Minister Elias Murr, who is married to the daughter of President Emile Lahoud.

See http://www.itp.net/features/103390460459031.htm

The raid and closure, which resulted in 200 employees loosing their jobs, provoked an outcry that has caused rifts within the government.

MTV is not a case in point some analysts say. The Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC), the country’s leading television station, dealing with charges of allegedly inciting sectarian friction over its coverage of a Muslim office worker’s killing of Christian colleagues at the end of July. A lawsuit was filed against LBCI, for “instigating sectarianism” by highlighting the religion of the culprit and victims in a recent crime report.

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