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SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Freedom of Expression Violations in the Levant - February 2022

Tuesday , 01 March 2022
Design: Mahmoud Younis

In Lebanon, writer and university professor Bassel Saleh was threatened on social media by Hezbollah supporters over a tweet (02/20), while the ISF’s Information Branch questioned Syria TV correspondent Ahmad Al-Qusair about his journalistic work (02/02) and Germany's Deutsche Welle channel dismissed its bureau chief in Beirut Bassel Al-Aridi along with journalists Morhaf Mahmud, Farah Marwa, Maram Salem, and Daoud Ibrahim over tweets deemed anti-Semitic by the channel (02/07).

In Syria, unknown people killed citizen journalist Mahmud Bakkour by shooting in the head inside his house in Talbiseh, which is located in the northern countryside of Homs (02/26). Armed men affiliated with the Kurdish Democratic Union Party arrested Yekiti Media website correspondent Bauer Mulla Ahmad in Qamishli (02/05) as well as ARK channel correspondents Sabri Fakhri also in Qamishli (02/05), Ahmad Sufi in the Malikiyah countryside, and Dara Abdo in Al-Hasakah (02/19). The Kurdish Regional Self-rule Administration prevented Rudaw network from operating in all regions under its authority (02/05).

In the areas controlled by the Syrian regime, a security force raided the house of journalist Kinan Waqf in Tartus to arrest him (02/05), as well as the house of his colleague, journalist Mahmoud Ibrahim (02/08).

In JordanAl-Ra’i daily dismissed six employees, including four journalists after they held protests to claim their financial rights (02/09). When the protests intensified the next day, the Jordan Press Association decided to suspend the dismissal decision. Moreover, the Amman court found journalist Mohammad Al-Khaldi not guilty in the lawsuit filed against him by the Minister of Health for “lack of objectivity and integrity” (02/19).

In the West Bank, the Israeli forces fired teargas, stun grenades, and rubber-coated bullets at several journalists: Jmedia photographer Laith Jaar and Al-Kofiya TV correspondent, Raja’ Maaruf Jabr (02/04); freelance journalist Mohammad Thabet (02/11); Jmedia photographer Ashraf Abu Shawish (02/18) who was also beaten (02/27); freelance photographers Nasser Ashtieh and Mahmoud Fawzi, Reuters photographer Adel Abu Nehmé and AFP photographer Jaafar Ashtieh (02/18); Quds network photographer Abdallah Bahesh (02/11 and 02/18). They also beat Anadolu agency director Ons Janli, photographer Issam Al-Rimawi, and Reuters correspondent Raneen Sawafteh after targeting them with teargas and stun grenades (02/11). Furthermore, the Israeli forces beat Quds network photographer Abdallah Bahesh (02/11 and 02/27), Anadolu photographer Hisham Abu Chakra (02/18), Wafa agency correspondent Hamza Mohammad Al-Khattab, Space Media photographer Louay Said, as well as the Palestine TV correspondent Mahmud Frash and photographer Iyad Al-Hashlamoun (02/25), Qud News Network correspondent Moatasem Saqf Al-Hit and freelance photographer Nasser Ashtieh, along with AFP photographer Jaafar Ashtieh (02/27) and freelance journalist Nidal Al-Natsheh (02/28). They also arrested freelance photographer Wihaj Bani Mofleh for an hour (02/04).

As for the Palestinian security forces, they summoned freelance journalist Ameen Abu Warde and questioned him about his journalistic work (02/13).

In the Gaza Strip, the Hamas-affiliated Khan Yunis court postponed the trial of journalist Ihab Fasfus for the seventh time for “Internet misuse.” The next session should take place on March 15.

In the 1948 Territories, the Israeli police prevented journalists holding Palestinian and international press cards from covering developments inside the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood (02/16). Also, settlers beat photographer Raja’i Al-Khatib and hampered the work of two other photographers (02/13). Finally, the Jatt council director banned a play under the pretext that it “destroys the social fabric” (02/03).

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