Lebanese journalist ‘beaten up on live TV’ while covering anti-Trump protests

Future Television reporter Rabih Shantaf. (Video grab)
Updated 12 December 2017
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Lebanese journalist ‘beaten up on live TV’ while covering anti-Trump protests

LONDON: A video of a Lebanese journalist apparently getting beaten up while covering an anti-Trump protest in front of the US embassy in Lebanon’s Awkar district went viral on social media on Sunday.
The clip shows Future Television reporter Rabih Shantaf saying that internal security forces were demanding that news agencies’ cameras were shut off. 
Moments later, the sound goes off and a security force agent is seen beating Shantaf.
“Unfortunately this is yet another example of security forces brutally assaulting journalists without any form of legitimate reasons,” Ayman Mhanna, executive director of the SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom, told Arab News.
“This is a guy who (was) standing close to a live transmission vehicles ... he was attacked, he wasn’t close to the demonstrators — it is important to respect the role of journalists when covering these protests,” Mhanna added.
Many journalists took to Twitter to condemn the beating. News reporter Yumna Fawaz tweeted, “What happened to fellow colleague Rabih Shantaf while covering the Awkar demonstration is disgraceful, shameful and unacceptable.”
Reporters Without Borders condemned “all kinds of intimidation, verbal or physical attack, against journalists who are only trying to do their job.” 
“An explanation from the Internal Security Forces should be provided and the person responsible of this violent behavior should be held accountable,” Alexandra El-Khazen, head of the Middle East desk at Reporters Without Borders, told Arab News.
TV Presenter Christine Habib also condemned the act saying “look at the embarrassment and ignorance! In solidarity with our respectable colleague Rabih Shantaf.”
Violent clashes broke out during a protest in front of the US Embassy in Lebanon over US President Donald Trump’s recent decision to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognizing the latter as the capital of Israel.


Vietnam jails activist for anti-government posts on Facebook

Updated 25 September 2018
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Vietnam jails activist for anti-government posts on Facebook

  • The conviction comes as communist authorities step up a crackdown on dissent
  • Some 97 activists were in jail as of April this year, according to Amnesty International

HANOI, Vietnam: A court in southern Vietnam has sentenced an activist to 27 months in prison for Facebook posts that judges say insulted the ruling Communist Party and government and called for anti-government protests.
Doan Khanh Vinh Quang, 42, was convicted “abuse of democratic freedom to infringe on the legitimate interests of the state” by the People’s Court in Ninh Kieu District in Can Tho province after a one-day trial Monday, the Vietnam News Agency reported.
The agency quoted judges as saying Quang’s actions “actively abetted hostile and reactionary forces from inside and outside the country” who want to overthrow the party and government.
Court officials were not available for comment Tuesday.
The conviction comes as communist authorities step up a crackdown on dissent. Quang was third activist to be jailed in a week on similar charges.
On Saturday, Nguyen Hong Nguyen and Truong Dinh Khang, were convicted of insulting the Communist Party and its leaders, including late founding President Ho Chi Minh, and sentenced to two years and one year respectively in separate cases in Can Tho province.
Despite sweeping economic reforms over the past 30 years that opened Vietnam to foreign investment and trade that made it one of fastest growing economies in the region, the Communist Party tolerates no challenge to its one-party rule.
Some Western governments and international human rights groups criticize Vietnam for jailing people for peacefully expressing their views. Hanoi says only lawbreakers are put behind bars.
Some 97 activists were in jail as of April this year, according to Amnesty International.