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.


KSA complains to FIFA about Qatar’s BeIN using World Cup as political tool

Updated 59 min 24 sec ago
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KSA complains to FIFA about Qatar’s BeIN using World Cup as political tool

  • The federation called on FIFA in its complaint to take severe sanctions against the Qatari channel and to abolish the rights granted to the network.
  • Some of the biggest names in Arab sport have signed a petition to protest against the “politicization” of World Cup coverage by the Qatar-owned broadcaster. 

DUBAI: The Saudi Football Federation has filed an official complaint to FIFA over the Qatar-owned BeIN Sports network’s use of World Cup broadcasts as a means of spreading political messages aimed at insulting Saudi Arabia and its leaders.

This falls within the network’s ongoing attempts to instigate hatred in the region, it said.

The federation said its complaint calls on FIFA to address the unacceptable abuse by the channel of its tools for politicizing the media. This was clear after the World Cup’s opening match between Saudi Arabia and Russia and contrary to the laws of the international federation, which stresses the need to exclude sport from politics.

The federation called on FIFA in its complaint to take severe sanctions against the Qatari channel and to abolish the rights granted to the network.

Meanwhile, some of the biggest names in Arab sport have signed a petition to protest against the “politicization” of World Cup coverage by the Qatar-owned broadcaster. 

The website sports4everyone.org created the petition and invited fans around the world to urge FIFA President Gianni Infantino to investigate the coverage by the Qatari broadcaster’s Arabic channel.

Among the signatories are Egyptian national football player Ahmed Hassan, Al Arabiya’s Sports Editor Battal Al-Goos, and former Saudi national team captain Yousuf Al-Thunayan.

BeIN Sports holds the rights to broadcast World Cup games across the Middle East and North Africa, although its channels are not available in Saudi Arabia, one of four Arab nations locked in a diplomatic dispute with Qatar over the latter’s alleged ties to terror groups. Doha denies the charges. 

“Sport rises above politics. FIFA tried to keep politics away from games. As fans, we are saddened by BeIN using its permission to telecast sports to transmit its political agenda, violating FIFA rules,” the petition read.

The petition website includes nine clips from BeIN Sports featuring pundits and presenters politicizing the match between Saudi Arabia and the host nation, Russia. 

In one of the station’s broadcasts, a commentator accused Saudi Arabia of “selling out the Palestinian cause,” while in another the host suggested the Kingdom’s top sporting officials will become “prisoners at the Ritz-Carlton,” a reference to the detentions in Riyadh during last year’s anti-corruption drive.

Egyptian media analyst Abdellatif El-Menawy said BeIN had “distorted the global football event” by using it as a political tool against Saudi Arabia.

“This is an infringement of the rules and standards of professional media,” El-Menawy told Arab News on Saturday. 

“BeIN Sports has abandoned neutrality and professionalism,” he added, saying the network’s coverage after Saudi Arabia’s 5-0 defeat by Russia was “gloating” and “sarcastic.”