November 19, 2010
The BBC has suddenly pulled a documentary film series about the assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri as tensions mount in Beirut over expectations that Hezbollah operatives are about to be accused of involvement in the killing.
The first of three parts of Murder in Beirut was scheduled to be broadcast on BBC World this Saturday, but the producer was told without warning on Tuesday that it was being delayed.
The BBC said the film had not yet complied with its editorial guidelines. No new date has been set. But the decision to postpone it was taken after a Lebanese newspaper described how it accused the militant Shia group of the 2005 assassination, in which Hariri and 22 others were killed by a massive car bomb.
The point of the film, al-Akhbar claimed in a front-page article on Monday, was “to implicate Hezbollah in the crime”, with one image showing partial details of a man described as a former member of the organisation’s foreign operations unit. Today extracts were broadcast on al-Jadeed TV, a pro-Syrian channel.