The Court of Publications in Mount Lebanon Thursday convicted a former LBCI radio show host of slander and defamation, nearly three years after he was fired amid controversy over a segment discussing Free Patriotic Movement chief Gebran Bassil’s personal wealth.
Joe Maalouf, former host and producer of LBCI’s “Haki Jelis” (“Talk Straight”) show, will face a fine of LL500,000 ($327), as well as LL10 million ($6,550) in damages, according to a sentence issued Thursday by Judge Elie Helou and reported in local media.
Maalouf initially came under fire in November 2015, when his show on the Fame.FM radio station ran a report on Bassil’s wealth that discussed properties acquired by the now-foreign minister during his political career. Bassil subsequently filed a lawsuit against Maalouf and others.
Former Free Patriotic Movement Minister Elias Bou Saab, who owns Fame.FM, said at the time that the decision to fire Maalouf was “purely in the interests of radio and nothing else.”
“This has nothing to do with politics,” Saab said in 2015.
But Maalouf claimed the sacking was retribution for the report. “Minister Bou Saab called to tell me that because of the report on Gibran Bassil, he is forced to end my management of this radio station,” he said, on air.
Maalouf was previously fired from a hit television show he hosted on MTV, “Enta Horr” (“You Are Free”). The dismissal came after he publicly criticized Dikwaneh Mayor Antoine Shakhtoura for ordering the illegal closure of a gay-friendly nightclub and the detention of several people, one of whom, a transsexual, was allegedly abused and forced to strip as deputies mocked and photographed her.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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