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Al-Arabiya TV responds to criticism by Lebanese Hezbollah TV

BBC Monitoring

 Text of report by Dubai-based news channel Al-Arabiya TV on 18 July

    [Announcer-read report over video]

    Parties affiliated with Hezbollah and its media outlets have been launching a campaign against Al-Arabiya TV Channel. This campaign is characterized by being far from the truth from all sides and by being launched for no apparent reason, bearing in mind that Al-Arabiya does its best to deal with all sides in the Arab arena with absolute objectivity and treat them on an equal footing.

    [Begin recording] [Ramzi al-Masri, Al-Arabiya correspondent] Al-Arabiya Channel has been, for some time now, the target of a defamatory campaign launched by parties affiliated with Hezbollah. In this context, Al-Manar TV Channel, which is affiliated with Hezbollah, aired an episode of a programme which hosted a former Syrian information minister and two other media figures to discuss the 2006 July War. Direct and indirect criticism and accusations of twisting facts were levelled against Al-Arabiya through the questions posed by the host, answers given by the guests, and video reports that were previously prepared for this episode.

    [Amr Nasif, Al-Manar TV talk show host] One of the Arab media channels, supposedly an important TV channel, celebrated the first anniversary of the war or aggression by hosting the Israeli prime minister as if there are no media outlets to host him. He was hosted by this channel so as to defend the Israeli position. Based on this, we ask to what extent is the media involved in the normalization process?

    [Maryam al-Bassam, news director at Lebanese New TV] There is a mutual trust between the two sides - between this station, supposedly an important one, and the prime minister of the enemy. I do not believe that this is our business.

    [Mahdi Dakhlallah, former Syrian information minister] When this channel hosted the prime minister of the enemy, I was asked on the next day to comment on his remarks in which he talked about Syria. I said that I would not comment on remarks made by the prime minister of the enemy.

    [Al-Masri] The campaign was launched last week when Nawwaf al-Musawi, official in charge of international affairs in Hezbollah, made remarks to the Lebanese LBC TV.

    [Nawwaf al-Musawi] It is a good thing that you mentioned Al-Arabiya by name. In an interview with Al-Arabiya during the war, I criticized its conduct when it interviewed an Arabic speaking person, from an American origin, who was more Israeli than the Israelis. Of course, this channel and some other Arab and Lebanese channels participated in the Israeli war effort more than the Israeli media itself.

    [Al-Masri] The campaign against Al-Arabiya came after the station aired interviews with three members of Hezbollah who are being held in Israeli prisons on the occasion of the first anniversary of the July war.

    [Unidentified Hezbollah prisoner] It is very difficult when one is not with his [family] on such occasions. [End recording] [Video shows Nasif, others making statements]

    Source: Al-Arabiya TV, Dubai, in Arabic 1820 gmt 18 Jul 07



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