Sunday, June 28, 2020

  • Sunday, June 28, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon


From Arab News:

A Lebanese judge on Saturday tried to ban media from reporting criticism of Hezbollah supporters by US ambassador Dorothy Shea.

Judge Muhammad Mazieh issued an order in Tyre on Saturday banning all media from publishing the ambassador’s comments for a year after a recent interview in which she criticized the powerful Hezbollah group seditious and a threat to social peace.

“Counterterrorism sanctions apply not only to Hezbollah but to those who provide them with material support,” Shea said in an interview with Saudi-owned news channel Al-Hadath.

She said the US was still evaluating whether the government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab was “an independent government of technocrats not beholden to Hezbollah.”

The US “has not yet seen what we hoped for from this government in the way of concrete steps to implement the reforms the economy so desperately needs,” Shea said

Mazieh said Shea’s comments incited sectarian strife and threatened social peace. The judge said while he can’t ban the ambassador from speaking, he can bar the media from interviewing her for a year.

The funny thing is that now the liberal Lebanese media are falling over themselves to speak to Ambassador Shea.

She told LBCI (Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International) that the ruling carried an “element of defensiveness,” describing it as “unhelpful and unnecessary.”

This is all proof that Hezbollah pretty much controls Lebanon, although Shea now says that the Lebanese government has apologized to her.

Naharnet adds:

The court decision reflected the rising tension between the U.S. and Hizbullah. It also revealed a widening rift among groups in Lebanon, which is facing the worst economic crisis in its modern history.

Information Minister Manal Abdul Samad wrote on Twitter the judiciary may be reacting to the interference of some diplomats in the country's affairs. However, "no one has the right to prevent the media from covering news or undermine press freedoms," she wrote.

Any issue pertaining to the media should pass through the information ministry and official judicial channels, she said.

Local broadcaster LBCI said it would not abide by the ruling, calling it a "non-binding and unenforceable" decision that violates freedom of press.

It said it would challenge the ruling in court.

And as critics of Hizbullah called it politicized, others hailed the ban as "brave" on social media, saying Shea had crossed a line by "interfering" in Lebanon's internal affairs.

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