File - Journalist Marcel Ghanem interviews Prime Minister Najib Mikati, unseen, at the Grand Serail in Beirut, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Officials came to the defense of free speech Friday after tensions flared between Justice Minister Salim Jreissati and the host of a local TV talk show.Host of LBC's show "Kalam Ennas," Marcel Ghanem, received support the day after he devoted the opening segment of his show to a monologue blasting Jreissati for a recent decision to investigate outspoken guests featured on his program last week and picking holes in the minister's record in office. After Jreissati's response, Information Minister Melhem Riachi issued a statement saying that during times of political crisis, solidarity mattered most.In a statement, the Secretariat of the Higher Judicial Council also blasted Ghanem for discrediting Mount Lebanon Public Prosecutor Judge Ghada Aoun.Following this week's "Kalam Ennas" show, the Army also responded strongly to comments made by one guest suggesting that half of the weaponry received by the Army ends up in the hands of "a certain party" – presumably a reference to Hezbollah.
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