|The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban|
A video has recently surfaced documenting police beating journalists this week. The reporters were covering the election of a new mufti and security agents decided they needed to teach them “a lesson”
The police even pressed charges against the journalists–accusing them of “slander”– but Prime Minister Tammam Salam intervened, promised an investigation. Now some of the officers have reportedly been “disciplined.”
It’s not immediately clear what is meant by this. Will it amount to more than a slap on the wrist? If anything, the punishment should be publicized so that other police know they are not above the law.
Journalists have often been beaten or intimidated by authorities in Lebanon. An Al Jadeed TV crew was also savagely punched, kicked and detained by customs agents last November for reporting on corruption. I too have had my share of experiences, both physical threats and verbal intimidation from high-ranking officials. The good news is these acts are increasingly caught on camera so the public can now have a role in demanding accountability by sharing and reposting.
Thanks to Rania for sharing the video on FB.