BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:00 P.M.) – The U.S. State Department accused Hezbollah of trying to silence the Lebanese media, against the backdrop of a decision by a judge to prevent the media from publishing statements from the American ambassador to Beirut, Dorothy Shea.
“Just thinking about using the judiciary to silence freedom of expression and freedom of the press is ridiculous and pathetic,” the State Department said in a statement, adding: “We stand with the Lebanese people and against the control of Hezbollah.”
On Saturday, the Judge of Urgent Matters, Mohammad Mazeh, issued a decision to “prevent any Lebanese or foreign media outlets working on Lebanese soil from conducting any interview with the American ambassador for a year.”
Ambassador Shea said earlier in a television interview that “Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah threatens Lebanon’s stability, and that the party prevents the economic solution in Lebanon.”
In response to the decision of the Lebanese judge, the American Embassy in Lebanon wrote via their Twitter account: “We strongly believe in freedom of expression and the important role that the free press plays in the United States and Lebanon. We stand with the Lebanese people.”
In turn, the Lebanese Minister of Information, Manal Abdel Samad, played down the importance of the decision, stressing that “no one has the right to prevent the media from reporting the news and limiting media freedom.”
The Minister of Information also denied that the Lebanese government had apologized to the American Ambassador in Beirut for the judicial decision.
On the other hand, the two most prominent channels in Lebanon broke the judicial decision, as LBCI confirmed that it will not abide by the decision, noting that it will file an appeal against it, while MTV received yesterday evening the American ambassador, who considered that ” The freedom of expression of the Lebanese people must be preserved. “