Lebanon al-Manar TV pledges to air despite Arabsat ban
Lebanese al-Manar television channel says it will continue broadcasting after it was abruptly dropped by the Saudi-based satellite communications operator Arabsat.
Speaking at a gathering of journalists, politicians, and other figures in the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on Thursday, Ibrahim Farhat, al-Manar’s general manager, said the channel “will not be silenced by any arbitrary or unjust decision no matter who issues it.”
The remarks came almost one week after Arabsat, which provides services to 20 Arab countries, stopped broadcasting al-Manar, affiliated with the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah.
The Lebanese network said the move came after a participant on a live talk show criticized Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in April.
Last month, Arabsat also suspended services to Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen TV.
In a statement published on Wednesday, Arabsat said it dropped the two stations, citing alleged breach of their contracts, which forbid broadcasting material that could spark sectarian strife as well as “insulting and slandering political and religious figures.”
Meanwhile, Mohammed Shirri, al-Manar presenter, described Arabsat’s move as “political,” adding, “The decision is against freedom and Lebanese sovereignty.”
Lebanon’s Information Minister Ramzi Joreige also accused Arabsat of breaching its contracts with al-Manar, al-Mayadeen and the Lebanese government, demanding compensation from the operator.
Hassan Fadlallah, the Lebanese lawmaker who heads the parliament’s media committee, further warned that action will be taken against Arabsat.
Al-Manar is currently being aired by Egypt-owned NileSat.