Lebanon News

Al Jadeed had no criminal intent: media official

File - Abdel-Hadi Mahfouz, the head of Lebanon’s National Audiovisual Media Council, is seen in this Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010 photo. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Abdel-Hadi Mahfouz, the head of Lebanon’s National Audiovisual Media Council, took the stand at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon Wednesday in the contempt case against Al Jadeed TV and journalist Karma Khayat.

Mahfouz, the second witness to appear for the defense, endured a long cross-examination by amicus curiae prosecutor Kenneth Scott. Throughout the day Mahfouz repeatedly accused Scott of manipulating his statements while Scott grew frustrated by Mahfouz’s lengthy and often digressive answers.

Scott questioned Mahfouz about a letter he sent to Prime Minister Tammam Salam asserting that he “did not find that Al Jadeed violated any provision” when it aired a controversial TV series about the STL in August 2012.

Khayat and Al Jadeed have been accused by the STL of intentionally trying to undermine the court by broadcasting a television series about witnesses who were allegedly slated to appear before the tribunal.

Mahfouz reiterated in court that he was convinced Al Jadeed “did not have a criminal intent when they were doing their work.”

After Mahfouz finished his testimony, Lebanese Judge Charbel Abou Samra took the stand. He discussed a meeting with the head of TV news at Al Jadeed, Mariam al-Bassam, and the media group’s lawyer, Maya Habli. Bassam had initially thought her name had been forged on a document related to the contempt case but later “withdrew their complaint,” Samra told the court.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 14, 2015, on page 3.

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