Lebanon press group alarmed over increasing lawsuits

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Lebanon's Press Federation sounded the alarm Thursday over what it said was the increasing rate of lawsuits by political parties and officials against media figures filed with judicial authorities rather than the Court of Publications.

"The [Press Federation], which represents the various spectrum of Lebanese press..., considers that any side affected by journalists or media figures can file a complaint against them before the Court of Publications, according to the laws and regulations," the federation said after its regular meeting.

The federation urged journalists to "exercise responsibility while conducting their tasks during the delicate times that the nation is passing through."

It also called on officials to act in a flexible manner "toward criticism and comments they are exposed to."

Hezbollah filed a complaint Wednesday against Lebanese TV anchor Dima Sadek to Attorney General Imad Qabalan who interrogated Sadek at his office at the Beirut Justice Palace.

She was being sued over slander allegations for purpotedly accusing Hezbollah of corruption during an episode of her talk show “Naharkum Saeed” on LBCI, in addition to some Facebook comments.

Sadek's case was preceded by a similar complaint filed by Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk against an Al-Akhbar newspaper journalist in September.

Machnouk filed a slander and defamation complaint against Mohammad Zbeeb, Society and Economy editor at Al-Akhbar, for posting on his personal Facebook account a photo of a $953,000 check in the minister’s name issued by the now defunct Al-Madina Bank in 2002, and accusing him of bribery.

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