One of Lebanon’s biggest news channels, MTV Lebanon, won its legal battle against Lebanon’s President, who had banned the station from entering the Presidential Palace.
MTV responded quickly by suing the presidency for forbidding the media channel from entering what’s deemed a public place, claiming him to be violating basic human rights and freedom of the press.
“It is the people’s palace, not your father’s house,” retorted MTV correspondent Nabila Awad, in furious comments addressing Aoun following the ban.
On Wednesday, Judge Carla Shawah ruled in favor of MTV and annulled the decision issued by the President.
In response, the Information Office of the Lebanese Presidency announced that it will comply with the judicial decision and therefore MTV is now allowed to enter the Presidential Palace for media coverage.
Ever since the onset of the revolution in 2019, arrests of people deemed publicly disrespecting or insulting the president have increased, exponentially so with crackdowns in the past several months, leveraging the fact that defamation of the Lebanese presidency is a crime punishable by law.
After the August 4 explosion, and what it demonstrated of negligence from the state and lack of disaster relief response, MTV station ceased to use the president official title and would address him or speak about him as “Mr. Aoun” or “Michel Aoun” or “The master of the palace.”
The presidency deemed the station’s method of addressing him on TV to be disrespectful and an attempt to belittle him.
One could argue that there are issues of far greater importance to tackle and tend to in Lebanon, such as the fact that half of Beirut was obliterated in the recent chemical explosion.
But it doesn’t seem like top civil servants are in any rush, given that the presidency just postponed the parliamentary consultations to designate a prime minister who would fill the two month’s governmental void and speed up the much-needed reforms to bring the country out of its disaster.