BBC News ignores a media freedom story from Lebanon

A journalist sentenced to imprisonment gets no BBC coverage.

Last year BBC Radio 4 produced a couple of programmes about a call from Gulf States to close certain media organisations – including Al Jazeera and Middle East Eye – in which the story was framed as an assault on media freedom.

BBC media editor’s softball interview with fellow journalist sold audiences short

Also last year, the BBC produced reports concerning Israeli complaints about Al Jazeera that were described as “an attack on free and independent media”.

BBC’s Israel-Al Jazeera row reporting displays double standards – part one

BBC’s Israel-Al Jazeera row reporting displays double standards – part two

BBC journalists protest imprisonment of Al Jazeera journalists by Egypt in 2014

Given that proclaimed interest in freedom of the press and the BBC’s track record of calling out some past cases of prison terms given to journalists, one might have therefore expected to see at least one report about a journalist sentenced to imprisonment in absentia by a military court.

“A Lebanese military court has handed down a six-month prison sentence to a journalist for comments critical of the Lebanese army, highlighting the close ties the army has with Hezbollah, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

Hanin Ghaddar, a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy known for her vocal criticism of the Iranian-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah, as well as Iran’s efforts to spread its Islamic revolution across the Middle East, stands accused of “undermining the Lebanese army.”

The court ruled that Ghaddar, a U.S. resident, was guilty of “defaming the Lebanese army, harming its reputation and accusing it of distinguishing between Lebanese citizens,” because of an expose she delivered at a conference held by the Washington Institute in May 2014. […]

The Beirut-based SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom condemned the court’s ruling as “a dangerous precedent in Lebanon, in which the military judiciary intervenes in a civil case.”

The sentence is “a new step toward turning the Lebanese government into an authoritarian regime, similar to other regimes in the region, where military judiciary is used for oppressing the public under vague terms and false arguments,” the statement added.”

Curiously however, BBC audiences have to date seen no reporting whatsoever of Hanin Ghaddar’s story.

Related Articles:

BBC News ignores a story about press freedom

A media story the BBC ignored surfaces again


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