Sunday 29 November 2020

Lebanese judge bans interview with US envoy over Hezbollah remarks

A Lebanese judge has banned local and foreign media outlets in the country from interviewing the US ambassador to Beirut for a year after she made certain accusations against Hezbollah.

Judge Mohamad Mazeh in the southern city of Tyre issued the ruling on Saturday a day after US Envoy Dorothy Shea told Saudi-owned TV station Al-Hadath that Washington has “great concerns” over Hezbollah’s role in the government.

According to Press TV, Mazeh said he acted after receiving a complaint from a citizen who considered Shea’s comments to a Saudi-owned station “insulting to the Lebanese people”, adding the matter was urgent.

The media outlets which interview Shea “would be contributing intentionally or unintentionally to the blatant aggression on the rights of those who feel insulted from the interview,” Mezeh wrote in a decision.

The judge said violators would be penalized with a one-year suspension and asked the Information Ministry to disseminate the order.

Mezeh said Shea's comments incited sectarian strife and threatened social peace. 

Several Lebanese officials hailed the ban as “brave", saying Shea had crossed a line by interfering in Lebanon's internal affairs.

Taking to Twitter, Information Minister Manal Abdel-Samad wrote that the judiciary may be reacting to the interference of some diplomats in the country's affairs.

However, “no one has the right to prevent the media from covering news or undermine press freedoms," she wrote.

Abdel-Samad said such complaints should be handled by her ministry and the press bodies.

In a telephone interview with the local MTV station, Shea called the decision “unfortunate".

The resistance movement’s popularity for shattering Israel’s myth of invincibility in the Arab public opinion has worried Israel and the West.

Hezbollah has defended Lebanon against two wars waged by Israel, the US’s closest regional ally, in the 2000s. The heroic defense as well as the group’s stiff opposition to foreign intervention in Lebanon’s internal affairs has turned it into a major stakeholder in the country’s political and military spheres.

Its military engagement in the Syria war has also turned it into a seasoned force, with many Western observers describing Hezbollah as the most powerful Arab army.

The US and its Persian Gulf allies have imposed sanctions on Lebanese economic assets and figures for alleged cooperation with Hezbollah.

Users Comments


Qods News Agency

©2017 Qods News Agency. All Rights Reserved