Lebanon's broadcasters take action over cable carriage fees

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 06 May 2015

Lebanese cable TV providers are being investigated by the judiciary after the country's eight TV stations filed a lawsuit accusing them of failing to pay for broadcasting rights.

Tele-Liban, LBCI, MTV, Future TV, Al-Manar, NBN, OTV and Al-Jadeed have taken the action which reportedly focuses on Mohammad Khaled, the representative of cable providers in Lebanon, and Suleiman Farah, of cable company Fiber Waves and United Cable Lebanon.

The state prosecutor Samir Hammoud has referred the case to the Department of Central Criminal Investigation, headed by Brigadier Maurice Abu Zeidan, according to The Daily Star.

On 1 May the eight TV networks released a statement announcing that cable providers must now pay them $4 of the fees they collect from subscribers. They argue that while Lebanese cable and satellite platforms pay a carriage fee for foreign-based satellite channels such as OSN and beIN Sport, they pay nothing to broadcast local TV channels.

In response, some cable providers have reportedly stopped broadcasting LBCI and Al-Jadeed. Mohammad Khaled told The Daily Star the cable providers cannot afford to pay the $4 fee and nor could they ask for a hike in subscription fees to cover channels that are available free-to-air via Nilesat.