The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) have adopted dramatically different approaches to new evidence of Hizballah involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
The CBC is going forward with a documentary suggesting Hizballah operatives were involved in the February 2005 murder of Hariri, who was killed in a bombing along with 22 others while traveling through downtown Beirut in an armed convoy. The BBC's three-part series entitled "Murder in Beirut" had been scheduled to air on the network on Saturday, but producer Christopher Mitchell was informed last week that the series had been postponed to ensure that it "comp[lied] with the BBC's editorial guidelines."
The network has yet to provide much in the way of specifics regarding its concerns. But the postponement occurred as tensions mounted in Lebanon, with Hizballah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah threatening to "cut off the hand" of anyone who attempted to arrest any of its members.
"Murder in Beirut" was originally commissioned by the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya satellite channel and was made by ORTV, a British-Saudi television firm. A Lebanese newspaper reported last week that the point of the film was "to implicate Hezbollah in the crime," with one image describing a former member of the terror group's foreign operations unit.
The CBC reports that United Nations officials have uncovered new details about Hizballah's role in the Hariri assassination. The records suggest that Hizballah officials communicated with the owners of cellphones used to coordinate the detonation of explosives that killed Hariri. The new revelations have encouraged speculation that a United Nations prosecutor may indict Hizballah members for the murder before the end of the year.
The CBC also obtained an internal U.N. document indicating that Col. Wissam al-Hassan, a key liaison with U.N. investigators, was considered by U.N. officials to be a top suspect in Hariri's killing. The CBC report criticizes the U.N. for failing to provide adequate security for a key Lebanese officer, Col. Wissam Eid, who was killed after developing evidence connecting the Hariri hit squad to a landline at a Hizballah-controlled hospital in South Beirut.