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Media outlets of Future Media network re-open five days after forced closure due to armed attacks

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - The following is an ARTICLE 19 press release:

Lebanon: Future media network reopens

ARTICLE 19 welcomes the re-launch of the Future Media network on May 13th, five days after its forced closure resulting from attacks from Hezbollah gunmen and other forces opposing the Lebanese government.

"We are pleased to hear that the Future Media network was able to re-launch its operations. The right of all media workers to operate, whatever their political affiliation, must be fully respected by the government and all political parties." said Dr. Agnes Callamard.

Future TV, Future News, Radio Orient and Al-Mustakbal newspaper have officially re-launched today from a different venue due to the damage caused at its headquarters and out of the fear of another attack.

The four media companies are all owned by the family of Saad Hariri, the head of the Future movement, the majority party in the Lebanese parliament. On Friday 9 May, Hezbollah fighters and its allies had forced Future TV, Future News and Radio Orient off the air. Al-Liwaa daily and Al-Shira' magazine were also forced to stop their work and have not yet announced a date to resume work.

"We call on the Lebanese authorities to protect all Lebanese media and journalists, and to safeguard their right to free expression as guaranteed in the constitution and by international human rights and humanitarian standards," adds Dr. Callamard.

ARTICLE 19 is an independent human rights organisation that works around the world to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression. It takes its name from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees freedom of expression.

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