In another attempt to silence the media’s freedom of expression, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) attacked Al-Jadeed’s building with sticks, paint spray, and stones after a news report criticizing President Michel Aoun.
“Disrespecting the Lebanese presidents is forbidden,” one of the FPM protesters yelled as they continued to vandalize the local TV station’s building, cussing and chanting “thief” to the station, throwing garbage at the station’s entrance, and spraying provocative statements on the walls.
The attacks by the FPM people, which started online with verbal intensity and continues on Twitter as of the time of writing, came after Al-Jadeed’s evening broadcast directly criticized Michel Aoun on Tuesday.
FPM members apparently felt offended by the news report that said the President now wakes up only halfway through his Baabda meetings and called him out on the “naps” he reportedly takes in the middle of discussions.
Al-Jadeed emphasized that Aoun’s trouble with falling asleep during inappropriate situations is confirmed by four sources who had the opportunity to meet the President.
They mentioned that Aoun is aware of his symptoms of forgetfulness that reportedly puts him in complete denial about what was agreed upon with the designated prime-minister Hariri in the twelve sessions related to the cabinet formation.
“Lebanon is on the verge of a disastrous collapse with no government in charge, while the president is still searching for an extra seat for his political team,” Al-Jadeed correspondent said during the evening broadcast,
FPM people were quick to lash out on social media, defaming and cursing the TV station, even accusing it of corruption and getting paid to discredit the president.
Some MPs of the FPM even joined in, including Salim A. Khoury and Antoine Pano. In his tweets, Pano accused the station of corruption, “spiteful writing”, spreading “misleading rumors” and being “rented pens.”
“Al-Jadeed tried to attack the president who’s the symbol of dignity. His dignity is our dignity, and corrupt thieves won’t get the best of him and us,” he tweeted.
Some called to boycott the station, accusing it of spreading fake news. and viciously calling it a “sewage” in a hashtag.
At least two press associations condemned the FPM’s attack on the TV station’s building. Al-Jadeed responded to the attacks by initiating a “Freedom For The Media” campaign.
“The attack we received from the hands of Michel Aoun’s supporters, who are uplifting the highest representation of corruption that led to the downfall of the country, symbolizes a great violation against media freedom.”