Lebanon’s TV star-turned-information minister Georges Kordahi returned Sunday to Beirut from the UAE in order to assume his missions as a member of the new government.
Perhaps the best-known face in the new government, Kordahi’s years as the host of the Arabic version of the popular game show ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ made him a household name in the entire region.
Kordahi however caused an uproar after addressing “some geniuses and analysts” who “appeared on TV channels over the past two days and analyzed the government’s formation and its quotas.”
“Let them calm down a bit,” Kordahi told reporters at Beirut’s airport, calling on media outlets “not to host them, because the government has just been formed.”
Kordahi’s remarks did not sit well with the Journalists For Freedom group, which voiced regret and concern over his statements.
“He began his ministerial work by asking media outlets not to host journalists and media figures who do not share his opinions,” the group said.
“No Mr. journalist minister, neither you nor any other official can decide for media outlets whom to host, and if you have started your mission in this manner, you should know that you are an information minister in a country in which freedoms are stronger than mindless dictations,” the group added.
“You are also in a country that is different than the models that you resemble and pride yourself in,” the group went on to say, suggesting that Kordahi is a supporter of authoritarian regimes.
Also speaking to reporters at the airport, Kordahi described Lebanon as “a plane that is making an emergency landing.”
“We must all cooperate in order to give a glimpse of hope to the people,” the minister added, promising citizens that the new government “will try to do everything that is positive.”
“Those who want to take us to hell must calm down because we don’t want that. Whoever wants that can go alone,” Kordahi said.
The National News Agency meanwhile reported that the minister was mobbed by a group of people at the airport who congratulated him on his new missions and asked him to carry out positive steps.