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.


Maradona of Aabdine, Lebanon? Looking back at the TV show that revealed it

Updated 26 November 2020

Maradona of Aabdine, Lebanon? Looking back at the TV show that revealed it

  • The football legend died of a heart attack on Wednesday at the age of 60 after battling health issues and undergoing emergency surgery for a subdural haematoma several weeks ago

LONDON: Amid news of the death of Argentinian football superstar Diego Maradona on Wednesday, a Lebanese television clip that claimed he was originally from Lebanon has resurfaced on social media.

The Future Television show, Sire w Infatahit, hosted by award-winning journalist Zaven Kouyoumdjian, was the first to reveal the claim that Maradona originally hailed from the town of Aabdine in north Lebanon.

“There are people who left Aabdine to go to Argentina. However, they were only able to travel on ships because there were not many,” a man from Aabdine said in a report from the show.

“So they left on board the Titanic, which later sank but, one of them survived. One of their relatives is the great football legend, Maradona.

“Even after he became an international superstar, they came back to the village asking about their relatives in order for him to meet them.”

The football legend died of a heart attack on Wednesday at the age of 60 after battling health issues and undergoing emergency surgery for a subdural haematoma several weeks ago.