A group of people who identified themselves as Hezbollah’s followers attempted an attack on Lebanese journalist Hussein Chamas, in front of his house in south Beirut.
The journalist is an employee of the Shiite Council and is known for his closeness to the Amal Movement of Lebanon’s speaker of the parliament, Nabih Berri.
IM Lebanon reported that this attempted attack took place due to the journalist’s anti-Hezbollah stances.
According to the same source and to what Chamas shared on his social media accounts, this group asked him to leave Al-Dahyeh, his homeplace, and threatened to kill him if he ever enters the neighborhood again.
Chamas expressed his anger on Facebook, saying: “Your constant threats increase our certainty that we are right and that you are wrong. Lebanon is not yours and your policy of suppressing journalists will turn against you.”
This attack on a journalist and the freedom of the press isn’t the first of its kind in Lebanon, especially during these sensitive times when everyone, public figure or not, is freely and bluntly expressing their political opinions.
In the past months, since the revolution, we’ve witnessed a number of assaults on reporters and photographers, whether intentionally or by accident during the protests.
Layal Saad, for example, a reporter for Al-Jadeed, was injured due to stone-throwing in Martyrs’ Square, Beirut.
Another Lebanese reporter was targeted by a rubber bullet in Beirut.
Other recorded assaults include reporters being either physically and/or verbally abused, threatened, had their phone numbers leaked on social media in campaigns of harassment, ambushed and beaten up, or prevented from doing their job and covering the protests.
Another incident of a reporter who was violently prevented from doing her job is that of Asrar Shbaro from An-Nahar while covering the arrival of the plane from Iran.
Not only individual reporters get attacked but also some TV news stations have experienced assaults on their freedom to operate, like in the case of Al-Jadeed.
All of these incidents sparked outrage as people deemed them to be assaults on Lebanon’s democracy and the freedom of the media and press.
In a fresh incident related to the press, on Thursday, France 24 correspondents were prevented by members of the Military Intelligence Unit, reportedly dressed in civilian clothes, from conducting interviews in Hamra Street.