Newspaper publisher's car torched in intimidation attempt
|Publisher||Reporters Without Borders|
|Publication Date||23 January 2008|
|Cite as||Reporters Without Borders, Newspaper publisher's car torched in intimidation attempt, 23 January 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47a83e2a19.html [accessed 14 March 2014]|
Reporters Without Borders condemns an arson attack on the car of Aziz El Metni, the publisher of the Al Anbaa weekly newspaper, outside his home in Kornet Shahwan (15 km north of Beirut) on the night of 19 January. Metni's newspaper is the mouthpiece of the Progressive Socialist Party.
"The political crisis in Lebanon since former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri's assassination has created an extremely dangerous climate for journalists in which two have already died," the press freedom organisation said. "This arson attack must be taken seriously and must be properly investigated so that those responsible are brought to justice."
Metni, 73, has filed a complaint about the fire, which would have spread to his house if firemen had not arrived in time to put it out. He told Reporters Without Borders he had not received any threats before the fire, which he regards as a "message to the Progressive Socialist Party." He added that he was probably targeted because he has less protection than the party's leaders.
On 8 January, he published a column headlined "No cooperation by force and no governance by blocking," which was very critical of the opposition led by Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement.
In a press conference yesterday at the newspaper, editor Rami Al-Rayess refused to speculate about who was responsible for the attack, saying he wanted to let the authorities "do their job." But he described it as "an attack on the press and Lebanese democracy."
Two Lebanese journalists, Samir Kassir and Gebran Tueni, have been killed and a third, May Chidiac, has been seriously wounded in targeted bombings since September 2004.