Who owns Al Mayadeen?

The question was put to the channel’s news director, Sami Kleib, who was a guest last night on an Al Jadeed talk show.

The funding of Al Mayadeen has been a mystery since the channel’s launch earlier this year, with critics claiming funding comes from Syrian or Iranian regime sources.

At first Kleib said he couldn’t answer the question because business and administrative issues were ‘beyond his responsibility’ as a newsman. But when pressed by host Rabia Zayyat, Kleib refused to name the investors saying only that they were “a group of respectful businessmen” who agreed with “our Arabist” perspective on Palestine.

Zayyat put the question another way: “Are you funded by Iran and Syria?”

“Absolutely not,” Kleib responded.

Throughout last night’s show Kleib repeatedly claimed his channel was objective and independent. But why then has it been so tight-lipped about its funders?

See my interview with the channel head Ghassan Ben Jeddou–back when he was a major personality on Al Jazeera– for more on his political perspective.

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