- Title: Lebanese and international rights groups launch coalition for press freedom
- Date: 13th July 2020
- Summary: BEIRUT, LEBANON (JULY 13, 2020) (REUTERS) CAMERA OPERATORS AND JOURNALISTS COVERING PRESS CONFERENCE OF LEBANESE AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS ANNOUNCING FORMATION OF 'COALITION TO DEFEND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IN LEBANON' VARIOUS OF CAMERA OPERATORS COVERING PRESS CONFERENCE SPEAKER TALKING DURING PRESSER PRESSER IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LEBANESE JOURNALIST AND MEMBER OF ALTERNATIVE MEDIA SYNDICATE, DOJA DAOUD, SAYING: "We - 14 organisations in this coalition - were already working, each separately, on media-related issues, freedom of speech, and human rights issues in Lebanon. International organisations have their branches in Lebanon, and have their studies confirming documented and systematic violations of freedom of speech, it is not false news as we are being accused when we speak about our rights. The goal of uniting all these groups is to unite the efforts because the system is haunting us separately. We need to unite with each other so that we can continue this battle together because the freedom of speech is the last thing we hold on to protect all our other rights." PRESSER IN PROGRESS VARIOUS OF JOURNALIST FILMING WITH MOBILE PHONE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL RESEARCHER ON LEBANON, SAHAR MANDOUR, SAYING: "There is a big problem here and there is big danger on journalists and on whoever express their opinions on social media. We think this is priority today because Lebanon is going through an unprecedented crisis, therefore to defend people's and human rights in Lebanon, freedom of press expression should be protected so that it could be the defence line for other rights." LEBANESE JOURNALIST, ADAM CHAMSEDDINE, SPEAKING DURING PRESSER VARIOUS OF JOURNALIST SITTING AND WORKING ON LAPTOP JOURNALISTS AND ACTIVISTS GATHERING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LEBANESE JOURNALIST, ADAM CHAMSEDDINE, SAYING: "The more you annoy the authorities, the more they chase you. As for me, since I started working in investigative journalism specifically, I was prosecuted several times either by judicial court or by the military court. Despite this, there is a decision to confront and to adhere with press standards, otherwise we would choose another job." GOVERNMENT HEADQUARTERS BUILDING IN CENTRAL BEIRUT LEBANESE FLAG ON TOP OF BUILDING VARIOUS OF BARBED WIRE ON WALL IN RIAD EL SOLH SQUARE FACING GOVERNMENT HEADQUARTERS BAABDA, LEBANON (JUNE 25, 2020) (REUTERS) PERSON MARCHING WHILE HOLDING LEBANESE FLAG VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS WALKING NEAR SECURITY FORCES PROTESTER HOLDING BANNER READING (English): 'MY VOTE, MY RIGHT. NO CONFIDENCE' PROTESTERS GATHERING AS ARMY SOLDIERS WATCH THEM PROTESTERS GATHERING VARIOUS PROTESTERS WAVING LARGE LEBANESE FLAG
- Embargoed: 27th July 2020 15:22
- Keywords: Beirut Lebanon Lebanon crisis Lebanon protests Press freedom Unrest in Lebanon
- Location: BEIRUT AND BAABDA, LEBANON
- City: BEIRUT AND BAABDA, LEBANON
- Country: Lebanon
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001CMN7UC5
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Fourteen local and international organisations announced on Monday (July 13) the formation of the "Coalition to defend freedom of expression in Lebanon" to face what they say are Lebanese authorities' "attempts to stifle free speech and opinion in the country".
In a statement, members of the coalition said they documented an "alarming increase in attacks on peaceful speech and expression" since a trash crisis in Lebanon sparked a protest movement in 2015. Lebanese authorities have investigated thousands of people since, the statement said.
The coalition noted that those attacks escalated since last October when a combination of nation-wide protests against corruption and slowing capital inflows spilled into a political, banking and financial crisis.
"There is a big problem here and there is big danger on journalists and on whoever express their opinions on social media," said Sahar Mandour, a Lebanon researcher with Amnesty International.
More than 60 people have been arrested or summoned over social media posts since October 17, 2019 - when nation-wide protests began, the coalition said.
"The more you annoy the authorities, the more they chase you," commented Lebanese journalist Adam Chamseddine, who has been prosecuted several times for his investigative work with a local TV channel.
Coalition members include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Legal Agenda, the Lebanese Centre for Human Rights, the Alternative Media Syndicate and others.
(Production: Issam Abdallah, Yara Abi Nader)
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