Future TV will be off air for weeks
Beirut-based Future TV, which had equipment destroyed in a Hezbollah raid that also set fire to the station, could be off air for “weeks” according to station boss Nadim al-Munla.
Mr al-Munla is chairman of Future TV, a popular pan-Arab regional entertainment channel that’s been on air since 1993. The station is owned by the Hariri family. Rafik Hariri, Lebanon’s prime minister, was assassinated in 2005. Mr al-Munla told journalists on the LBC Satellite TV station that a group of gunmen belonging to Hezbollah besieged the building and threatened that if the transmission did not stop, the entire facility would be destroyed.
According to BBC Monitoring, Mr al-Munla said “We received [this information] through an officer belonging to a Lebanese Army. The management of Future TV decided to stop transmission in order to protect the employees inside, as well as the facility itself. We were forced to stop transmission and placed the facility in the hands of the Lebanese Army.”
Future TV was then given over to the Lebanese Army, but moments later, said al-Munla, “armed elements and television experts entered the building and tore off all the wiring in the building in order to prevent transmission, which would not resume today or tomorrow and probably for weeks. It seems that their intelligence was very efficient. One gunman inside the Future Television building contacted the technical manager, who was taking shelter in a west Beirut building, and asked him to tell the gunmen where the cameras where placed and where the computers that save all the video of what goes on inside the centre were to be found in order to confiscate all the videotapes and prevent us from transmitting to the Lebanese and Arab people what exactly these gangs did and what happened inside the building.”