Lebanon News

Court throws out World Cup lawsuit against Tele Liban

Tele Liban director Talal Makdessi had earlier promised to broadcast all World Cup 2014 matches even if it meant risking his own job. (The Daily Star)

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s judiciary Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed by BeIN Sports against Tele Liban over broadcasting rights, saying the court had no jurisdiction to look into the complaint.

The Court of Urgent Matters, under Judge Zalfa Hasan, rejected the case, which BeIN sports filed last month against the state-sponsored Tele Liban over broadcasting World Cup 2014 matches unauthorized.

Speaking outside the Justice Palace in Beirut, the chairman of Tele Liban’s board of directors, Talal Makdessi, thanked the Lebanese media, the court, civil society, and the Telecommunications Ministry for their support.

“We won’t stop until we get our right,” he said.

The hashtag “#WearewithyouTeleLiban” and “#InsupportofTeleLiban” trended in Arabic on Twitter Friday as the public waited for the verdict following the hearing, which began at 7 p.m.

Makdessi also said the station would continue “to defend the rights of the Lebanese.”

BeIN Sports had granted exclusive broadcasting rights to the Lebanese firm Sama, which priced the World Cup package at more than $100 per household.

Following public outcry over the expensive package, Telecommunications Minister Boutros Harb announced that the state would pay $3 million to Sama in order to cover the company’s losses and give broadcasting rights to Lebanese TV cable providers.

The deal between the Telecoms Ministry and the company, which excluded Tele Liban, left some Lebanese without access to World Cup games, notably those who are not subscribers to cable.

As a result, Makdessi decided to broadcast all the World Cup matches, saying he would risk his job to provide the Lebanese, and specifically the poor, with access to the games.

Makdessi confirmed earlier this week that the channel would broadcast the remaining games regardless of the lawsuit.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 05, 2014, on page 3.




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