SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Freedom of Expression Violations in the Levant - September 2020

Monday , 19 October 2020

In Lebanon, four media professionals were beaten while three others were prevented from covering developments on the ground. Also, four journalists, an activist and a dancer were summoned for questioning and a reporter received death threats. Israeli soldiers attacked three Palestinian photographers with teargas in the West Bank and the Palestinian security questioned a journalist and a filmmaker. In addition, the Hamas police assaulted a photographer in Gaza and questioned a journalist. The Israeli police arrested a journalist in the 1948 Territories; and an artist was victim of an incitement campaign. Four Jordanian journalists were brought to justice over publications, a journalist was detained in Syria, while another one was suspended from his duties and a citizen journalist prevented from covering developmentsd. Below is a detailed summary of the violations that the SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom monitored in the four countries.

In Lebanon, Al-Jadeed crew members comprised of reporter Layal Saad and cameraman Samir Asmar (09/04) as well as An-Nahar photographer Nabil Ismail (09/14), were beaten while covering local developments. Also, Beit Al-Musawirpresident Kamel Jaber was beaten because of a tweet (09/14) and Hezbollah members prevented Sawt Beirut International photographers and a cameraman from covering the aftermath of the Ain Qana explosion in South Lebanon (09/22). The public prosecution questioned journalists Riad Tawq and Dima Sadeq, as well as activist Farouk Yaakoub in the complaint filed against them by Speaker Nabih Berri (09/12), while former Minister of Energy and Water Nada Boustani and MP César Abi Khalil filed a complaint against MTV, journalist Riad Tawq and Charles Saba, the coordinator of the Lebanese Observatory for Corruption. Furthermore, the Anti-Cybercrime and Intellectual Property Bureau summoned journalists Assaad Bechara and Nawfal Daou (09/29); the latter was also questioned by the Criminal Investigation Department over tweets (09/18). The military court summoned dancer Alexandre Paulikevitch after he participated in one of the Beirut protests (09/20).

In addition, journalist Dima Sadek received death threats through WhatsApp (09/29) and the Saudi Al-Sharq TV ended journalist Jad Ghosn’s contract under the pretext that he did not have the necessary documents for a work permit (09/18).

In Syria, the regime’s security forces arrested journalist Kinan Waqaf following an investigative report on electricity in Tartus (09/02) while journalist Bashar Radwan was suspended from work at Radio Souryana for four days (09/12) and the “You are not alone” camp administration in rural Idlib prevented citizen journalist Kenana Hindawi from filming (09/05).

In Jordan, journalist Walid Hosni appeared before Zarqa’s public prosecutor a day after the security forces arrested him in Amman over a publication; he was later released (09/02). Three days later, journalists Osama Al-Ramini and Jihad Abu Baidar appeared before the same prosecutor and were also released (09/06). Also, journalist Jihad Abou Baidar appeared before the Amman Court of First Instance in the gold stamp corruption case (09/23).

On the other hand, journalist Tahani Al-Qatawi was forcibly laid off from work at Jordan TV (09/01) and the Amman court postponed the sentence in the complaint filed against Nidal Salama (09/13) then decided to return the file to the public prosecutor.

In the West Bank, the Israeli forces fired teargas grenades at Palestinian photographers Hisham Abu Chaqra, Adel Abu Nehme and Alaa Badarneh while covering a protest near Nablus (09/25).

The Palestinian Preventive Security questioned Samer Khawira about his journalistic work (09/28) and filmmaker Kanaan Kanaan about his collaboration with An-Najah (09/30) and his relationship with his colleague Abdul-Rahman Daher who was detained by the same service (09/03). Also, a Ramallah court postponed the trial of journalists Rami Samara and Naela Khalil to November 17 (09/03).

In the Gaza Strip, the Hamas police beat up photographer Amjad Al-Nakhala because he was out during curfew hours imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (09/01) while the Hamas investigation department questioned journalist Youssef Hassan for “spreading rumours on his Facebook page.”

In the 1948 Territories, the Israeli police arrested photographer Mohammad Dkidak for eight hours (09/03) and artist Nidal Badarny was victim of an incitement campaign launched by Muslim clerics in Galilee to prevent him from performing under the pretext of “blasphemy and debauchery” (09/27).

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