BEIRUT: Hezbollah Thursday had its say on a MTV program that stirred outrage over its depiction of two Lebanese politicians in a sketch, slamming the station for breaching norms and professional standards.
During Tuesday’s airing of the weekly MTV program Hayda Haki (This is talk), a Photoshopped picture depicted Sidon MP Bahia Hariri wearing what appeared to be a bikini and dancing with her Hezbollah rival MP Mohammad Raad.
“It appears that some television stations have overstepped all moral standards ... in their attempt to get across political messages, as well as increase their audience and advertisement [in the guise] of sketches,” a statement from Hezbollah’s media relations office said.
“MTV’s airing of a satirical sketch of ... Raad and MP Bahia Hariri by creating a caricature is an unacceptable violation of all [standards of] of dignity and transgresses the most basic standards that the media should abide by,” the statement added.
MTV and the presenter of the Hayda Haki program apologized Wednesday for their depiction of Hariri, as news emerged that the Future MP was suing the channel over the incident.
The show’s host Adel Karam apologized on Twitter for what he called the unintentional violation of the religious beliefs of Hariri, who wears a hijab.
Hezbollah urged the caretaker information minister and National Audiovisual Media Council to step in immediately and take action against “such persistent audacious behavior by some media.”
“Apologies by the channels and those in charge will no longer do. Relevant authorities should apply the law and do whatever is necessary in terms of accountability ... as part of protecting freedom of expression, which should always take into consideration responsible freedom,” it said.
Hariri has filed a lawsuit against MTV and Karam.