Article updated, June 2022.
MTV CEO Michel Gabriel El-Murr has been sentenced to one year in jail on the basis of “wasting public funds due to illegal telecommunications,” reported the National News Agency.
The court in Jdeidet al-Metn reached its verdict on the lawsuit filed by the Lebanese state, declaring that MTV’s chairman and Studio Vision are found guilty.
The court obliged the defendants to pay 2,074,364,105 LBP ($1.4 million USD).
In addition, Studio Vision has been fined to pay four million Lebanese pounds.
The verdict demanded that Murr serves one year in prison unless he pays the damages within two months from the date of the ruling.
The Ministry of Telecommunications “congratulated” the Lebanese people while announcing the news on Twitter, stating: “The process of recovering the public money begins. Congratulations to the Lebanese people. Congratulations Ministry of Communications.”
To that, a Lebanese responded, questioning the ministry: “And our money that you’ve stolen over the years, Alfa and Touch, and what about the telecom services and the Ogero with the highest cost in the world?”
It has remained unclear what “illegal telecommunications” Murr has been specifically accused of, and what “public funds” were wasted.
It is no secret that the wasting of public funds has been massive in Lebanon and that the Lebanese people have been demanding the prosecution of officials and politicians, to no avail.
The highly controversial case of Michel el-Murr now comes to poke at that wound of the people as they ask: “How about the officials?” A valid question since it isn’t the first time a TV Channel in Lebanon and/or its CEO gets targeted with a harsh controversial verdict.
The response of MTV Lebanon came in a hard tone, questioning the speed in which the lawsuit was filed and decided on in just a few days while the country is in a state of a health emergency.
They declared it an attack on their media to shut it off, “a message” they are ready to deal with, and that they don’t intend to back off. This is their response:
Editor note: MTV Lebanon filed an appeal against this controversial court order and the appeal went through.