Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hizballah-Style Democracy II: The Media

While Syria and Iran's allies and proxies in Lebanon continue to push for a total takeover of the country's executive branch in Doha [while already controlling the legislative branch, while already having conducted a violent veto on the military branch, and while already having secured a favorable candidate for the Presidency], I thought I would highlight another joke of a show those proxies' proxies orchestrated in Beirut over the weekend.

Menassat, a Dutch-funded media advocacy outfit for the MENA area, writes:
On Saturday, Abdel Hadi Mahfouz, director of the National Council of Audio-Visual Media invited media directors from a wide range of television and radio outlets to have a dialogue on curbing the "media distortion" that has exacerbated sectarian tensions in the last few months.

But Future TV and the other major Lebanese TV network, the pro-government LBC, failed to send any representatives to Saturday's dialogue despite earlier promises.

Future TV's news department told MENASSAT that it did not attend the dialogue because the National Council of Audio-Visual Media "failed to condemn what Hezbollah did when they closed down Future's media operations during the fighting. They only issued a statement after five or six days by which point Future employees had already returned to work."

"The National Council of Audio-Visual Media is not an organization that I find truly representative of free media, and although all the main sects are represented in the council, it is seen as reflecting partisan concerns," she said.

Media analyst Magda Abu Fadil, head of the Journalism Training Program at the American University of Beirut (AUB), told MENASSAT she was not surprised that Future and LBC decided to boycott the dialogue.

Abu Fadil said, "Clearly, [Future TV and LBC] did not show up because the head of the council is considered a partisan of parliamentary speaker of Nabih Berri, or at least that's what he's accused of being."
So to restate, after a week of violence in which media offices - ranging from TV, to print, to radio - were violently [and deliberately!!] attacked, robbed, vandalized, and burned. What does this Amal-controlled (and therefore Syrian-controlled) media council for the do? It completely ignores the attacks, refuses to condemn them, and instead calls on the media to get together and agree not to say anything mean about the thugs that started a bloody sectarian war resulting in the deaths of 62 people, the wounding of 200, and slaughtering of the nation's social cohesion.

This, of course, after another Syrian-controlled council moved to dismiss a vocal critic of Hizballah and the devastation it has brought to the Shiite community, after he had his home and offices violently attacked and occupied.

2 comments:

  1. At this rate, it will be certain that the last act of Lebanon's free media will be a cry for help; then nothing.

    Don't fall that way. Cry for help now, while there is still a chance outsiders can do something for you and your country.

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  2. Well, defenders of Lebanon sovereignty can cry for help, but nobody will get involved. The USA has absolutely no military resources left (all its brigades are currently physically engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan), France and UK have stretched their forces too (with Chad, Cambodia, the Balkans, Ivory Coast and Afghanistan) and most other European countries have no projection means of their own. G.W. Bush made sure that the USA could not get involved in the Middle-East in any meaningful way any more when he invaded Iraq. Blair similarly impeded the UK when he followed him blindly.

    The only (Arab) countries which could still do something are probably not going to take the risk, because it has been their policy for ages and they are too busy counting their oil money. Let's face it, the Arab League and Arab solidarity are sorry jokes.

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