- Title: Lebanon summons U.S. envoy in row over media ban - official
- Date: 28th June 2020
- Summary: AWKAR, LEBANON (FILE - SEPTEMBER 6, 2013) (REUTERS) HILL WHERE U.S. EMBASSY IS LOCATED U.S. EMBASSY
- Embargoed: 12th July 2020 14:39
- Keywords: Lebanon USA diplomacy media ban middle east politics
- Location: BAABDA AND AWKAR, LEBANON / INTERNET
- City: BAABDA AND AWKAR, LEBANON / INTERNET
- Country: Lebanon
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA002CKA8Y13
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: PART QUALITY AS INCOMING
Lebanese media broadcast interviews with the U.S. ambassador on Sunday (June 28), ignoring a ruling by a judge who banned the diplomat from television for a year over remarks that criticised the powerful Shi'ite movement Hezbollah.
A Lebanese government official and a Western diplomatic source both said ambassador Dorothy Shea had been summoned to the foreign ministry on Sunday. No further details were given.
Hezbollah is the main political force behind the Lebanese government. Washington considers the heavily armed pro-Iran movement to be a terrorist group.
In an interview with Saudi-owned AlHadath television on Friday (June 26), Shea said Hezbollah's behaviour was preventing Lebanon from properly dealing with a deep economic crisis.
A Shi'ite judge in the southern city of Tyre ruled on Saturday that Shea's comments had incited sectarian strife, and banned broadcasting interviews with her for a year. State-owned National News Agency (NAA) said media that violate the ban would be fined $200,000.
But the government has repudiated the court ruling, while criticising Shea over the remarks that had prompted it.
In one of several media appearances on Sunday, Shea told broadcaster MTV that a senior government official had assured her the court did not have the authority to order the ban, and that the government would take steps to reverse it.
She described the ruling as a "really pathetic" attempt to silence the media, and said the government should focus more on implementing economic reforms.
(Production: Tom Newey / Iain Axon)
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