TV Networks Vow Legal Measures after Cable Providers Cut Off LBCI, al-Jadeed
Local Lebanese TV networks on Sunday expressed their solidarity with the LBCI and al-Jadeed stations after some cable providers removed them from their packages.
“All TV networks express their solidarity with LBCI and al-Jadeed,” Wissam Mansouri, a lawyer for Lebanon's eight TV networks, announced at a press conference.
He warned that “legal measures will be taken against violators.”
In a written statement broadcast to subscribers, the cable providers say their move is in protest at an “ultimatum” by the TV networks, which gave the distributors a one-month grace period to start paying a fee of four dollars for every subscriber they have.
“Although it might seem directed against the cable companies, this organized attack is actually targeted against Lebanese citizens with the aim of obliging them to pay a monthly fee of LBP 6,000 in return for viewing the Lebanese TV networks,” the providers say in their statement.
The distributors have also vowed to cut off the signals of more TV networks in the coming days.
The broadcast of the eight channels -- Tele Liban, Future TV, LBCI, al-Jadeed, al-Manar, OTV, MTV, and NBN – through cables has been prohibited in accordance to a decree issued on April 11 by Economy Minister Alain Hakim.
LBCI, one of the first channels to be removed from free viewing, stated that it can be accessed through the satellite providers cablevision and econet.
Those seeking to obtain the rights to redistribute the channels are to submit a request to lawyer Mansouri's office and sign relevant legal documents between May 1 and June 1.
An Nahar daily on Saturday attributed the development to a dispute between the owners of the television stations and the cable television providers after the former accused the latter of monopolizing the air and demanded a share of the profits that are being made at their expense.
In the absence of laws regulating the telecommunications sector, most Lebanese get their subscriptions from mostly illegal cable companies that operate through piracy and charge about LBP 20,000 ($13) a month.