Journalists quit Lebanon paper over anti-protest stance

Lebanese school students take part in a protest in the southern city of Sidon (Saida) on November 5, 2019, during ongoing anti-government protests. (AFP)
Updated 06 November 2019

Journalists quit Lebanon paper over anti-protest stance

  • One journalist announced her resignation last week, another on Monday and two more followed suit on Tuesday
  • Al-Akhbar ,is among the most read and respected newspapers in Lebanon, threw its weight behind the movement

BEIRUT: Four journalists have resigned from Lebanon’s pro-Hezbollah newspaper Al-Akhbar over the daily’s stance on an unprecedented wave of anti-government protests.
One journalist announced her resignation last week, another on Monday and two more followed suit on Tuesday, explaining their decision on social media.
One of them, leading economic journalist Mohammed Zbib, said he “resigned to protest against the newspaper management’s attitude toward the uprising.”
Since October 17, hundreds of thousands of Lebanese have taken to the streets to demand better living conditions and a wholesale change of Lebanon’s corrupt and sectarian political system.
Al-Akhbar is among the most read and respected newspapers in Lebanon, including by those who do not share its political leanings.
Over the years, it has consistently produced pioneering coverage of the economic hardships faced by Lebanon’s least privileged, a key driver of the ongoing protests.
When the protests erupted nearly three weeks ago, initially over a proposed tax on phone calls via messaging apps, Al-Akhbar threw its weight behind the movement.
However, protesters’ grievances swiftly grew to demand the resignation of the entire ruling elite and a complete overhaul of a system that has returned the same politicians to power for decades.
Hezbollah’s powerful leader Hassan Nasrallah faced unusual criticism, including within his own strongholds, and criticized the protest movement as reckless and manipulated by the West.
Al-Akhbar’s initial enthusiasm for the protests gave way to a stance cautioning against the government’s resignation and the emergence of a political vacuum.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri, a Hezbollah rival in the governing coalition, eventually bowed to street pressure on October 29 and announced his cabinet’s resignation.


France rules Google must pay news firms for content

Updated 09 April 2020

France rules Google must pay news firms for content

  • Google to comply with the French competition authority verdict

PARIS: France’s competition authority ruled on Thursday that Google must pay French publishing companies and news agencies for re-using their content.
The US tech firm said it would comply with the French competition authority verdict, which followed a complaint by unions representing French press publishers.
“Google’s practices caused a serious and immediate harm to the press sector, while the economic situation of publishers and news agencies is otherwise fragile,” France’s ‘Autorite de la Concurrence’ said in a statement.
Last year, Google it would stop showing news snippets from European publishers on search results for its French users, to comply with a new European copyright law.
“Since the European copyright law came into force in France last year, we have been engaging with publishers to increase our support and investment in news,” Richard Gingras, vice president of News at Google, said in a statement.