Where else in the world can one go on live television and smoke profusely during an interview? And where else but a totally lawless country do politicians smoke on live TV? This is a snapshot of former MP Najah Wakim, head of the People’s Movement, on Manar TV, which is one of the country’s most popular stations. He had at least 3 cigarettes during the interview, at one point engulfing the entire studio in a cloud of smoke. This was particularly distracting when several plumes obstructed the view of Imad Marmal (right), arguably the most charismatic host on Hezbollah-backed Al Manar. Interestingly–and this could be totally unrelated–he is also the only Manar personality to have gone against the Iranian current by routinely wearing neck ties. I guess this would make him a “moderate” Arab broadcaster.

Previous articleAdding Rambo
Next articleThe sound of Hezbollah
Habib Battah
Habib Battah is an investigative journalist and founder of the news site beirutreport.com. Battah has covered Lebanon and the Middle East for over 15 years and teaches journalism and media studies at the American University of Beirut. He is a contributor to Monocle, The Guardian, BBC World, Al Jazeera and others, a former fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University and two-time recipient of the Samir Kassir Press Freedom Award. Battah's investigative work was recently recognized for outstanding local reporting by the Columbia University Oakes Award for Environmental Reporting. Battah earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.A. in Near East Studies and Journalism from New York University.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here