Out of court… on-air “settlements”
Posted by worriedlebanese on 15/06/2009
I received two emails with the same content: an extract of a TV show in which MP Ibrahim Kanaan (Free Patriotic Movement, Metn) answers accusation of corruption and vote buying by screaming at the show’s anchorwoman, Ghada Eid.
When I first watched the show, I was appalled by Ibrahim Kanaan’s reaction. The first few words he uses are quite revealing about the way he perceived this episode of al-Fasad. He called it “a political assassination”. And after saying that, he started yelling, scolding the anchorwoman, denigrating her work, insinuating things, accusing her of corruption and threatening her with a lawsuit for libel (something NTV is rather used to). She on the other hand insinuates that Ibrahim Kanaan’s party is corrupt and doesn’t hold its promises, she starts yelling as well, saying that her voice will always be higher than the others” and threatens him with a lawsuit for insults.
Now here is the interesting part of the story, Ibrahim Kanaan isn’t accused of actually bribing people, but of promising to bribe people and not honouring his promise. How can you prove that? And how can you prove that wrong?
This being said, Ibrahim Kanaan’s on-air reaction is shocking, and I wanted to know more about this incident, so I tried to search the internet for more info. What I found were two OTV news extracts. Now OTV is operated by the Free Patriotic Movement. One can hardly expect it to be neutral on that matter. So here is how the anchor answered the accusation: he showed two men apologising for their brother, Nabil Fala’s conduct (that of falsely accusing Ibrahim Kanaan of failing to honour his promise of bribery). The anchorman also showed an interview of Kanaan in which the latter didn’t apologise for his language and tone on Ghada Eid’s show, and instead talked about the accusers criminal records… These criminal records were later shown on air! A TV show answers another TV show’s circus with another circus (that of denigration and publication of criminal records… doesn’t that infringe Nabil Fala’s rights?).
So it’s not only about Lebanese politics being at their worst, but Lebanese journalism too.
OTV followed this news broadcast with another one on June 17th. Here, the television questions and answers another witness’ allegations by showing that part of another TV’s investigation was actually fabricated.