LONDON: Al Arabiya news channel pledged its “full support” to anchor Layal Alekhtiar after an arrest warrant was issued against her by a Lebanese military prosecutor.
The warrant came a month after Alekhtiar interviewed an Israeli military spokesperson for the channel, Al Arabiya said in a statement on Friday.
IDF spokesperson for Arabic media, Avichay Adraee, appeared on the channel amid the beginning of the Israeli assault on Gaza.
On Thursday, a Lebanese military prosecutor issued a warrant against Alekhtiar following a lawsuit filed by a group of journalists who accused the anchor of “communicating with enemy officials.”
Al Arabiya said the move “constitutes an attack on journalism and its fundamental values,” including the commitment to professional practices and balanced news coverage.”
The news network added that the warrant “is an attempt to intimidate journalists to prevent them from engaging in professional discussions and impartial news coverage.”
Among the journalists who filed the complaint against Alekhtiar was Lebanese reporter Hussein Mortada, who works for the Syrian News Channel, a Damascus-based state-run television station.
The lawsuit said: “Attorney Ghassan Al-Mawla has filed a report before the Military Court against the Zionist Layal Alekhtiar, who claims to be a journalist, for conducting an interview on the Hebrew channel (referring to Al Arabiya) with the Zionist killer, Avichay Adraee.
“Every communication is a contribution to the shedding of Palestinian blood, including children, women and the elderly, and we as detainees will not spare any of these traitors, and we will hold them accountable.”
Immediately after her interview with Adraee in early October, Alekhtiar was subjected to a barrage of criticism on social media, particularly from Hezbollah supporters, with some accusing her of being a traitor and an Israeli spy.
Lebanese government insiders advised Alekhtiar, who is now in Dubai, to avoid returning to Lebanon as she could face arrest.
In an interview with Arab News last month, Alekhtiar said that other Lebanese journalists, as well as Palestinian media professionals, have previously interviewed Israeli officials.
It was important to “get a second point of view” to achieve balanced reporting, she added.
“Currently I can’t go to Beirut; journalists and politicians have advised me not to go to Lebanon because I will be arrested,” she told Arab News.
“People are trying to intimidate journalists. They’re saying: ‘Look at what we can do, we can stop you and prevent you from entering the country’.”