On air, violent spat erupts over Syria on Lebanese TV

On air, violent spat erupts over Syria on Lebanese TV

Photo: Reuters

February 11, 2013, Monday/ 10:01:00

A heated debate between two guests live on Lebanese Al-Manar TV turned violent on Friday when one guest hurled a glass full of water at another while discussing the Syria crisis.

Guest Salem Zahrani, who heads a media center in Lebanon and is known for his support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad exchanged insults with the other guest, Asaad Bshara who opposed the Syrian regime.

"I talk about Syria and I know what I am talking about," said Zahrani, during the interview on an episode of 'Talk of the Hour' a political program on Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV.

Bshara interrupted Zahrani several times and the heated discussion quickly turned into a shouting match.

"You watch Al-Dunya TV and you are talking to me?" Bshara could be heard saying to Zahrani, referring to a pro-Syrian regime TV station.

The host, Imad Mermel, tried to stop the interruptions when Zahrani interrupted Bshara to defend Al-Dunya TV. But the two guests continued the argument.

"Al-Dunya TV channel is more honorable than you," Zahrani said, adding that Al-Dunya did not receive funds from Israel, US and other foreign sources, implying other television stations were complicit with foreign forces.

"You keep on collaborating with the Israelis... You can't finish one sentence," Zahrani can be heard saying, while Mermel struggles to calm the situation.

"I have reports from international sources, and he (Bshara) is just sitting there, like an idiot, and doesn't know..." Zahrani adds.

The scuffle, quickly growing out of control culminated with Bshara hurling an insult at Zahrani, who in turn flung two glasses of water at his counterpart.

The host could be seen rushing in to stop the scuffle turning violent before the show was taken off air.

The show resumed after a commercial break with both guests apologizing to the public.

According to local media reports the Association of Reporters Against Violence condemned Zahrani's behavior and criticized the program for allowing the situation to escalate.

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