Tahsin Khayyat: Lebanese security trying to silence my TV station
Tahsin Khayyat, Lebanese television station owner and CEO, described his detention by the Lebanese authorities as ‘silly and lacking legitimacy’, asserting that the real intentions [of the government] behind this episode were to ‘silence the TV station (NTV) that unearthed symbols of corruption throughout the country.’
Speaking to Al Bawaba, Khayyat explained “his detention was not due to political disputes between himself and PM Rafiq Al Hariri, but rather due to the Lebanese security who were taking orders from unknown characters that have them on their payroll.” He also described the actions taken by his government as an “offence to the entire country as well as Syria.”
Khayyat was released Monday after being detained for 25 hours; he described the investigation process as ‘naive and unprofessional’, adding “all the questions that I was asked were ridiculous and were not based on any clear accusation…I tried very hard to know the real reason I was being held by them but I was not able to.”
“They asked me personal questions…the whole thing was an attempt by the government to silence my station. I will not stop broadcasting the facts about corruption in Lebanon even if they jailed me for a whole month!”
According to the Lebanese daily - Al Nahar – Khayyat was detained following rumors that he had relations with Israeli parties (through the Israeli office in Qatar).
News of Khayyat’s detention made headlines in Lebanon as newspapers there speculated that the government took action against him due to his station’s coverage of the Al Madina Bank scandal. Prior to his arrest, the TV had a long interview with Rana Quleilat - the prime suspect in the scandal – who in the interview, threatened to disclose information that could prove the involvement of high ranking government officials in the financial scandal that shocked Lebanon several weeks ago.
NTV, owned by Khayyat, had faced similar problems in the past as well with PM Hariri, a person known to have close ties to the Saudi regime. The most recent clash he had with the Lebanese PM was when, last February, a warrant was issued that ordered his station be temporarily shut down when information leaked about a scheduled interview with a group of Saudi oppositionists.
Khayyat had gathered his fortune through its publishing and media dealings. He openly talks of Hariri as a ‘foe’. He is also known to have good relations with Lebanese President Emil Lahoud. (Albawaba.com)
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