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Lebanese Forces end protest outside TV offices after orders from leader

BBC Monitoring

Within its 0500 gmt newscast on 17 November, Beirut LBC Europe Satellite Television in Arabic reports that the "situation has returned to normal in front of the LBC building" following the demonstrations protesting the cancellation of an interview which was scheduled with Samir Ja'ja, chairman of the Executive Committee of the Lebanese Forces.

The channel carries a video report by an unidentified correspondent who says: "Dr Samir Ja'ja's call was enough to stop the peaceful demonstrations carried out by several Lebanese Forces supporters in front of the Lebanese Broadcasting Company's building in Adma."

The channel adds that the break up of the demonstration came after "a series of high-level contacts between Dr Ja'ja and Shaykh Pierre al-Dahir, chief of the [LBC] board to resolve the problem" caused by the cancellation of an episode of "People's Talk" with Ja'ja. The cancellation came against the background of a suit filed by the Lebanese Forces and Dr! Ja'ja against Al-Dahir.

The channel notes that its security elements controlled the situation before an army force arrived "to prevent the demonstration from being exploited."

The channel adds that Minister of Information Ghazi al-Aradi called the channel to express solidarity, as did other colleagues.

The channel goes on to say that Al-Aradi commented on what happened, specifically the demonstration in front of the channel and the cancellation of the interview. The channel shows excerpts of Al-Aradi saying: "I reject the intrusion upon any media institution even if it attacks us [the government] and me on a daily basis. This matter must be stopped and these precedents should not take place in Lebanon."

Asked about his opinion on the cancellation of the interview, Al-Aradi says: "I personally would have preferred it if the interview took place. The interview could have been allowed and could have been followed by any differing views."

Al-Aradi! adds: "I hope that there will not be any greater negative implication s. If it is possible for an agreement once again so be it, and if not, the law will rule and the company will return to playing its role that we always expect. We want it to play a national and pioneering role in Lebanese media."

Source: LBC Europe Satellite TV, Beirut, in Arabic 0500 gmt 17 Nov 07



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