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Marcel Ghanem Rejects ‘Silencing of Voices’ in Lebanon

Marcel Ghanem Rejects ‘Silencing of Voices’ in Lebanon

Saturday, 18 November, 2017 - 07:45
Lebanese Media Figure Marcel Ghanem. Asharq Al-Awsat

The summoning of Lebanese media figure Marcel Ghanem to investigate the hosting of two Saudi journalists, Ibrahim al-Merhi and Adhwan Alahmari, in last week’s episode of his program “Kalam Al-Nas” has drawn more reactions.


Warnings rose on Friday against harming the media and entrapping it in political bickering, as well as exploiting the crisis to “silence voices”.


After accusing on Thursday Justice Minister Salim Jreissati of bias, Ghanem reiterated in remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat that he refused to submit to the investigation, adhering to the rights of journalists and media workers and warning against using his program in the current political crisis.


“It was demanded that I would be brought and requested to pledge in signing that I would not attack the President of the Republic; I never did and won’t do,” Ghanem said at the beginning of his political show on Thursday.


Addressing Jreissati, Ghanem asked: “Have you taken any action in the Free Zone case, of which you were the main hero? In the case of Casino du Liban? And in the most important file: the events of Arsal, when we saw members of ISIS leaving in armored buses in a scandal deal? What did you do to bring the murderers of Rafik Hariri to justice?”


In a statement on Friday, Jreissati said: “The time of media’s disgrace, which is devoid of any moral or professional controls, has passed.”


Ghanem responded, in comments to Asharq Al-Awsat: “The words of the Minister of Justice are returned to him. He is trying to infuse the media into his political calculations, exploit the political situation by shutting the mouths and intimidating the media.”


“We will not accept such attempts,” he added.


The case sparked a wave of support for Ghanem from the majority of Lebanese politicians.


Information Minister Melhem Riachi said: “Insulting national symbols is not permissible in any circumstance, especially through the media, but in the event the media fell in any inadvertent error, there is a mechanism for all of us to abide by, through the Ministry of Information and the National Information Council.”


“I appreciate the position of the Minister of Information who, in a phone call with me, confirmed his support (against fascism in dealing with the media),” Ghanem said.


For his part, Minister of Education Marwan Hamadeh expressed his solidarity with Ghanem “in the context of the battle of freedoms” and warned in a statement against any violation of media freedom.


MP and former Minister Boutros Harb underlined his commitment to defend freedoms and volunteering as a lawyer to defend Ghanem in any prosecution against him.


“Hosting guests in a program on air does not place any responsibility on the host in the event of a guest violated the law,” Harb said.

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