Information Minister Voices Solidarity with Lebanese Journalists Summoned by STLإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Information Minister Ramzi Jreij considered on Monday that the media can criticize the Special Tribunal for Lebanon if there is a need, slamming the summons by the international court of al-Jadeed TV and al-Akhbar newspaper's journalists on charges of “contempt and obstruction of justice.”
“The reports published by the two media outlets are responsible and just criticism,” Jreij said in comments published in As Safir newspaper.
He stressed that “investigations with al-Jadeed and al-Akhbar will prove their innocence.”
The STL announced on Thursday that it has summoned Karma Mohammed Tahsin al-Khayat from al-Jadeed, as well as the station’s parent company New TV S.A.L., and Ibrahim Mohammed al-Amin from al-Akhbar, as well as the newspaper’s parent company Akhbar Beirut S.A.L. to appear before it on two counts of Contempt and Obstruction of Justice.
“The important thing is that the two media outlets defend themselves properly by adopting all the legal means as per the tribunal's mechanism,” the minister noted.
He warned the two journalists of failing to appear before the STL's hearing, saying: “This move will lead to repercussions including the issuance of arrest warrants.”
Jreij said that he is a “staunch advocate of media freedom,” however he noted that the “STL is a legal body and its decisions are binding for Lebanon.”
A meeting was held on Monday at noon in solidarity with the two journalists at the Press Syndicate to defend the “mere truth.”
In April last year, a list of 167 names of so-called witnesses for the Hariri trial was published by a previously unknown group identified as "Journalists for the Truth".
The group said it wanted to "unveil the corruption" of the STL.
Both Al-Akhbar and Al-Jadeed published the list.
The STL, established at Lebanon's request, seeks to try five members of Hizbullah for the attack that killed former premier Rafik Hariri and 22 others on February 14, 2005, in Beirut.
The accused, who remain at large, may choose whether to appear at the court in person or by video-link. The initial appearances of the accused are scheduled for May 13, 2014.
Last week, several journalists rallied near the Ministry of Information in Beirut, to protest the STL's decision.