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Attacks against journalists continue unabashed under the glare of Lebanese authorities

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) denounces the continued harassment Lebanese media outlets are subjected to at the hands of various factions in Lebanon, especially in light of the authorities' failure to provide a safe environment for media organisations to work in without restrictions or fear of reprisals.

Several TV crews for Lebanese satellite channels were subjected to such harassment that they were forced away and banned from filming the scene of the explosion that took place in Bir al-Abed in the southern suburbs of Lebanon on 9 July 2013. The explosion was at the hands of a group of young Lebanese men in full view of the army, the police forces, and elements of the Hezbollah discipline police.

The protesters attacked the TV channel MTV's crew and forced its reporter Hussein Khreis, its photographer Bashir Abi Rashed and their news team to leave the area and stop the live broadcast. This, after some protesters entered the live broadcast vehicle in an attempt to destroy the equipment. Another group of young protesters assaulted Future TV's crew and also prevented them from filming the scene. Correspondent Reemi Dirbas from LCBI was asked multiple times to leave the scene and not report on the explosion, but she returned a few hours after and completed her report.

"The continued attacks and restrictions suffered by Lebanese media personnel during their coverage of recent events that took place against the backdrop of Hezbollah's involvement in the Syrian civil war, and the Lebanese authorities complete disregard for the situation raises many questions regarding the real beneficiary of preventing the media from informing the public," said ANHRI.

The network called for the provision of a favourable climate for journalists to practice their work in without restrictions or fear. It also called for the immediate disclosure of the names of those who attacked the journalists in order to hold them accountable as assaults against media personnel have been increasing recently.

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