The Journalist Support Committee’s Summary Report of Monitored Violations against Journalists during the Demonstrations in Lebanon
October 17-30, 2019
Lebanon witnessed a wave of demonstrations that covered most of its regions demanding economic and political reforms. The media played a prominent role in covering these demonstrations and communicating the different and diverse voices that appeared in the Lebanese street.
The Journalist Support Committee in Geneva has monitored a series of violations against journalists, press and media institutions committed in many areas and by various parties such as official security agencies, political parties, and unidentified organized groups. The Committee expresses grave concern about the repetition of such violations and raises alerts to their seriousness; and in compliance with the provisions of its Statute, provides an initial monitoring of such attacks from 17 to 30 October 2019 and is distributed according to the targeted institutions as follows:
Summary of violations against journalists during the demonstrations in Lebanon
- October 28th: Young protesters assault Al Manar’s crew while covering roads closure in Central Bekaa, in an attempt to prevent the crew from filming in Dahr al-Baydar and Mansoura junction.
- October 29th: Lebanese security forces used force in an attempt to prevent Al-Manar crew from covering events in downtown Beirut.
- October 30th: Al-Manar correspondent Hussein Awwad and his crew were attacked by demonstrators blocking roads in Barja.
- October 30th: Physical and Verbal assault on NBN’s correspondent Rasha Zein. In addition to stealing her phone while she was covering the road block in the Barja and Jiyeh. NBN suggested that the attacker is the mayor of Jiyeh municipality with the aid of groups of demonstrators loyal to him. The channel denounced what it called the failure of the official security force to provide protection for correspondent.
- October 18th: A member of the security forces used excessive force with Al-Jadeed cameraman Mohammad Al-Samra during his live coverage of Riad El Solh Square.
- October 19th: An unknown group attacked the channel's correspondent Joel Hajj Moussa and the cameraman, Mohamed Barbar, in Tire.
- October 19th: Videos emerged of armed groups threatening to attack Al-Jadeed TV if they enter Tire.
- October 21st: the correspondent of the channel, Layal Bou Mousa, and the cameraman were expelled by some youths from a demonstration in Al-Abda-Akkar
- October 23rd: The Lebanese Army prevented the channel's staff from covering the media in Zouk Mosbeh and Nahr al-Kalb.
- October 23rd: Al-Jadid's correspondent Allen Hallak was expelled and prevented from covering in Taalabaya.
- On October 23rd: Al-Jadeed cameraman was attacked, the channel's camera was broken and the broadcast was cut during the clashes that occurred between citizens in Nabatieh.
Al Akhbar Newspaper:
- On October 21st: Political party protesters attacked the news distributor of Al-Akhbar newspaper at Alia roundabout and prevented him from entering the area. They also smashed the car and burned a cluster of newspapers.
- October 21: The head of the Information Office of the Presidency Rafik Shalala prevented Annahar correspondent Iskandar Khasho from performing his press duties by transmitting the speech of Prime Minister Saad Hariri directly through the newspaper's Facebook page.
- October 18th: the channel's correspondent Huda Shadid was pushed by security forces as they attempted to break up demonstrations in Baabda.
- October 23rd: The Lebanese army expelled the channel's crew from Zouk Mosbeh and prevented them from covering the events.
- October 18th: The channel's crew, consisting of Joyce Akiki and Christian Abi Nader were beaten and the camera was broken by some protesters in downtown Beirut.
- October 20th: A verbal altercation took place between the channel’s correspondent Joyce Akiki and one of Singer Wadih Al-Sheikh’s companions while covering events in Riad Solh.
- October 24th: A verbal altercation took place between the channel's correspondent Joyce Akiki and music composer Samir Sfeir while she was covering the demonstrations in Baabda.
- October 25th: An Attack on the channel's crew, Nawal Berri and cameraman Khalil Akiki, and breaking the channel's camera in Riad El Solh Square during a clash between protesters.
Nida Al Watan:
- October 25th: Demonstrators threw sharp objects and sticks at the newspaper’s photographer Ramzi al-Haj to prevent him from filming.
- October 25th: Some Protesters verbally assaulted channel’s correspondent Sahar Arnaout and attempted to obstruct her journalistic work in Riad El Solh Square.
- October 18th: The OTV crew was beaten by some protesters in 'Uqayba.
- October 19th: Some demonstrators affiliated with a political party attacked the channel’s correspondent Joel Bou Younes in El-Jadida.
- October 21st: the channel's correspondent Joel Bou Younes was harassed by demonstrators while covering events in Riad al-Solh and alongside the cameraman got sprayed with water.
- October 22nd: The channel’s correspondent Josephine Deeb was harassed by demonstrators who demanded her expulsion from Riad El Solh Square.
- October 24th: demonstrators in Al-Zouk expelled correspondent Lara Al-Hashim and her crew team from a building away from the demonstrations. The crew verbally and physically assaulted.
- October 24th: the channel’s correspondent Lara Al-Hashem was verbally and physically assaulted and provoked and demonstrators tried to expel her and the crew from the area by force and prevented them from covering events in Zouk.
- October 29th: the channel's correspondent Joel Bou Younes was verbally and physically harassed while covering roads blockage in Jal El Dib.
- October 29th: The Channel’s correspondent Rima Hamdan was beaten and prevented from covering the events and then expelled by journalists who oppose the channel in downtown Beirut.
- October 29th: the channel’s correspondent Joel Bou Younes was exposed to insults by protesters in Jal El Dib who also prevented the cameraman from filming the events.
- October 25th: Reuters’ cameraman Alaa Kanaan was assaulted during clashes between demonstrators in Riad El Solh.
- October 25th: An attack on the agency's cameraman Anwar Amr while covering clashes between demonstrators in Riad El Solh.
- October 21st: the agency's correspondent, Mohammed Qalit, was assaulted by riot police and beaten when security forces tried to break up sit-ins, even though the journalist showed them his press card.
The Committee condemns all violations against journalists and any attempt to impede their work and prevent them from communicating the events of the demonstrations and recommends the following:
- The need for the competent security authorities to ensure adequate protection to journalists working in all areas and to prevent any assaults on them;
- It is imperative that the security authorities refrain from using any kind of force with journalists and that these bodies must abide by the relevant laws and regulations and not take any lawless actions to restrict the work of the press and journalists;
- The commitment of all field journalists in taking every precaution during their fieldwork in accordance with the recommendations of the International Center for Journalists;
- The commitment of all journalists in avoiding contact with groups promoting violence;
- The Commitment of journalists to stay away from the security forces’ work area when taking measures to subdue crowds. The Committee recommends that journalists maintain a minimum distance of 10 to 15 meters from those who threaten to use violence. If the journalist is able to deal with these parties in a controlled manner, he/she should make sure that the meetings are short and organized. It is important to avoid confrontation between demonstrators or demonstrators and security forces.
The Committee reminds all active parties in Lebanon of the need to abide by international agreements and conventions related to the protection of journalists, and reiterates its condemnation of any violation against media professionals or any means of classifying them based on unprofessional grounds; as well as all forms of hate speech directed against journalists for political or ideological reasons.
Journalist Support Committee - Switzerland
12 November 2019