Freedom of expression outlined in detailed report

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The politically motivated firing of a journalist and forbidding a reporter from filming crucial footage of the You Stink movement protests were two of many violations of media and cultural freedom in Lebanon outlined in a report by the SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom.

The center published the monthly report for November 2015, Tuesday, documenting violations against freedom of press and culture and condemning several public figures and political bodies in Lebanon.

The report included incidents from Syria, Palestine, and Jordan, as well as Lebanon where, “Violations against the press were mostly of political nature.”

In Lebanon, the center reported that the president of radio station Fame FM, journalist Joe Maalouf, was fired from his post at the behest of the station owner Education Minister Elias Bou Saab, from the Free Patriotic Movement. The firing was allegedly in response to a segment Maalouf presented detailing the many properties owned by the FPM president, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, on the popular television program “Hki Jaless” aired by LBCI television station. Bassil proceeded to file a lawsuit against Maalouf, his team and LBCI. In a telephone conversation last month, Bou Saab told The Daily Star that the firing of Maalouf was a mere business decision and had nothing to do with politics.

In parallel, journalist Dima Sadek was also impeached by the Lebanese State Prosecutor’s Office on behalf of Hezbollah due to a statement she had previously issued condemning the group.

Additionally, a play under the title “Beirut Syndrome” directed by Lucien Bourjeily was banned by the Censorship Committee due to Bourjeily refusing to remove two lines from the script related to the Social Affairs Ministry’s Higher Council for Childhood and General Security.

The list of violations also included information that LBCI journalist Foutoun Raad was forbidden from filming footage of members from the Internal Security Forces and the Army physically assaulting activists from the You Stink movement, including Bourjeily. In addition, the Future Television channel website was also allegedly hacked by supporters of Daesh (ISIS) for a short time.

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