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Journalist seriously injured during pro-Syrian rally

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders says it is sickened by a 27 November 2008 attack on television journalist Omar Harqous of the channel Future News. The station is owned by the Courant du Futur party, headed by Saad Hariri.

The journalist was covering a demonstration by militants of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party in the Hamra district of western Beirut. The protestors were trying to prevent municipal officers from tearing down political posters, according to his family and colleagues.

Harqous was set upon by approximately 15 youths who punched and kicked him, even after he identified himself as a journalist. He was left with a broken nose and his body and face covered with bruises. He was taken to Beirut's American University Hospital, where he is undergoing tests.

"This cowardly assault comes just a few months after an attack on the offices of several media affiliated with the Courant du Futur, including Future News," the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

"Press freedom in Lebanon is threatened by these increasingly frequent attacks against journalists. It is vital that the authorities quickly open an investigation to identify and try Omar Harqous's assailants," the organisation said.

Threats from Hezbollah militia groups stopped broadcasts of terrestrial and satellite Future TV, satellite news channel Future News and Radio Orient, as well as publication the daily "Al-Moustakbal" for five days in May.

For further information on the attacks on media outlets in May, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/93621

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