Lebanon is seeking to take legal action against the award-winning American television series Homeland for its portrayal of Beirut as a city riven with terrorists.
By Ruth Sherlock, Beirut
7:32PM BST 18 Oct 2012
In the eagerly awaited second episode of the second season of the CIA thriller, shown on Channel 4, millions of viewers tuned in to watch as the protagonists hunted terrorists through the narrow, dirty and dangerous streets of “Beirut”.
But Fady Abboud, Lebanon’s minister of tourism, who has spent a small fortune trying to revive the country’s reputation as the Paris of the Middle East, expressed outrage at the “serious misrepresentation” of the city.
“We are following the case legally. I raised this at the cabinet meeting and the president asked the minister for justice and the minister of communications to see what can be done,” said Mr Abboud.
“I am calling on all young Lebanese adults to do what they need to do; to write blogs, to call the BBC and CNN to try to raise awareness that Beirut is not a city of Kalashnikov and war.”
A car-bomb blast has killed at least eight people and injured more than 70 in Beirut, state media report.
The explosion occurred in Sassine Square, a busy part of the mainly Christian district of Ashrafiya in the centre of the city.
Ambulances have been seen rushing to square. Witnesses say the blast was heard several kilometres away.
The intended target is unclear. Tensions in Lebanon have been rising as a result of the conflict in Syria.
Friday’s attack is the first major car bomb attack in Beirut for four years.
It occurred about 200m (650ft) from the headquarters of the Kataeb, better known as the Phalange, a Maronite Christian group. The general secretariat of the Western-backed 14 March coalition of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri is also based there.
Several cars were set on fire as a result of the blast. TV footage showed considerable damage to buildings.