Press body urges UN to help protect Lebanese journalists

The campaigning organisation Reporters Without Borders has urged the UN to do more to protect Lebanese media from targeted attacks.

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By  Tim Burrowes Published  January 8, 2006

The campaigning organisation Reporters Without Borders has urged the UN to do more to protect Lebanese media from targeted attacks. It follows last month’s murder of Gebran Tueni, CEO of the Arabic language daily An-Nahar, and September’s car bomb attack on LBC anchor May Chidiac in which she lost a hand and a leg. And in June, Samir Kassir, a columnist for An-Nahar, was also murdered. Direct threats to journalists critical of Syria’s involvement with Lebanon have increased since the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri in February last year. Reporters Without Borders, which campaigns for freedom of the press, has urged Ambeyi Ligabo, the UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression, to visit the country. The body said a visit “would send a strong signal of the international community’s commitment to do everything possible to reign in this series of killings in which journalists have been the targets”. Meanwhile, Eli Khoury, boss of Saatchi & Saatchi in Beirut, has helped to mastermind the publication of a new hardback book, The Beirut Spring, telling the story of last year’s “Cedar Revolution”. Jointly published by Khoury and Ghassan Tueni, the father of Gebran Tueni, they have dedicated the book to the two murdered media men. Elsewhere, Reporters Without Borders has labelled the arrest of a journalist in Dubai as “ridiculous”. Freelancer VM Sathish wrote a story for the Khaleej Times claiming a jewellery chain had ordered its staff to shave off beards and moustaches. Sathish was detained after the chain accused him of libel and was released after handing over his passport.

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