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SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Freedom of Expression Violations in the Levant - March 2022

Wednesday , 27 April 2022

In March 2022 in Lebanon, the Publications Court sentenced journalists Ibrahim Al-Amin and Zeinab Hawi to three months in prison. The penalty was replaced by a fine of LBP 1,000,000 over an article and a cartoon published in Al-Akhbar (03/31), in the complaint filed against them by MTV. Also, Mount Lebanon Prosecutor Judge Ghada Aoun filed a complaint against TV host Marcel Ghanem over an episode of “It's about time for alleged libel and slander (03/25), and the Criminal Investigations Division summoned GrandLB website editor-in-chief, journalist Mohammad Nimr, but he refused to appear, in accordance to the principle that only the Publications Court is competent in disputes related to journalistic work (03/11).

Furthermore, the Ambassador of Iraq to Lebanon prevented Al-Iraqiya correspondent Rima Hamdan from carrying on an interview at the Energy Ministry with the advisor to the Iraqi Prime Minister (03/14). Also, one of the Beirut Arab International Book Fair organisers prevented the Bikar Beirut band from finishing their concert at the exhibition (03/05).

On International Women’s Day 2022, Lebanon was the only country out of 50 members of the Media Freedom Coalition to refrain from signing a joint statement calling attention to the safety of women journalists and media workers (03/08).

In Syria, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party summoned two activists over Facebook posts in which they criticised the party’s leaders and their failure to respond to crises affecting the region. On March 7, the party’s administration informed activist Moussa Basrawi who lives in Sweden – through his family in Ain Arab-Kobane on the Syrian Turkish border, northeast of Aleppo – of the summons to appear before the People’s Court on charges of cursing and swearing. Dr. Farid Saadun was also summoned for the same reason.

In Jordan, the airport security detained journalists Taghreed Al-Rishq (03/06) and Daoud Kuttab (03/08) over publications, before releasing them. Also, the Jordanian police arrested journalist Ahmad Al-Zaabi on his way to the airport because he called for protests (03/24).

In the West Bank, the Israeli forces fired two rubber-coated bullets at Quds network photographer Abdullah Bahesh (03/15) and teargas at the local Al-Irsal agency correspondent Karim Khamayseh (03/22). They also assaulted Palestine TV cameraman Shamekh Jacoub (03/22) and arrested freelance journalist Boushra Al-Tawil at the Zaatara military checkpoint (03/21).

The Palestinian intelligence questioned freelance journalist Ibrahim Abu Safieh about his work (03/22) while a lawyer filed a complaint before the Public Prosecution against the "Huda’s Salon" movie crew for “offending decency and morals” (03/13).

In the Gaza Strip, the Khan Yunis Court of First Instance postponed the trial of journalist Ihab Fasfous for the eighth time over “Internet misuse” (03/15). The next session should be held on April 5 with the prosecution witnesses .

In the 1948 Territories, the Israeli police prevented photographer Ibrahim Al-Sanjlawi from reporting after a stabbing attack in Jerusalem, while right-wing extremists destroyed a Palestinian national mural in Nazareth (03/29).

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