Al Arabiya’s coverage of the Lebanese elections did not end with the last vote being cast in northern Lebanon on Sunday, June 19. Instead, the Dubai-based news channel aired a programme bringing together Lebanese politicians and student members of various Lebanese political parties to discuss the future of the country following the first election since the withdrawal of the Syrian army.
The programme was produced by Elie Nassif and hosted by Taleb Kanaan and featured commentary by Nawaf Al Mousawi, Head of International Relations with Hezbollah; Walid Eido, Coalition of Saad Al Hariri; Rafik Khoury, Editor-in-Chief of Al Anwar newspaper; Antoine Nasrallah, National Free Movement of Michel Aoun.
The participants discussed key issues such as the political map and the distribution of power in the new Lebanese parliament as well as the gains/losses of each ethnic group following an election that saw interesting alliances amongst the election candidates.
Also, the programme saw the participation of Adam Erely, spokesperson of the US State Department, live from Washington DC via satellite link. Erely expressed the necessity of disarming Hezbollah in the coming period, a statement that Al Mousawi considered a direct interference in internal Lebanese affairs.
The participants further discussed the role of the new parliament and government and assessed its role once current Prime Minister Najib Meqati steps down and addressed speculation about an early resignation or term extension for current Lebanese President Emile Lahoud’s.
Moreover, UN resolution 1559 was discussed with emphasis on Lebanese-Syrian relations following the withdrawal of Syrian troops from the country. Students also discussed the background and role of Camp Freedom and the March 14 peaceful protests that called for an independent inquiry into the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and withdrawal of Syrian forces from the country.
Al Arabiya played an important role in providing reliable coverage and airing real life situations and events in each polling station to provide viewers with an accurate feeling inside each polling station. This made viewers aware of the various political platforms of the candidates and their meetings with their constituents in different parts of Lebanon.
Moreover, Al Arabiya aired several documentaries covering political life and the demographic composition of the population in Mount Lebanon and Al Beqa’a valley, as well as other political powers and stakeholders in the election and the country’s political figures and symbols.
Al Arabiya covered all four rounds of the election with objectivity while maintaining the highest level of professionalism and neutrality in news reporting to ensure that its viewers were always informed of the various political views prevailing during the entire election process.
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