LONDON: A Lebanese judge rejected on Monday a request by the Order of Press Editors to ban all activities of the Lebanese Alternative Press Syndicate, citing an insufficient “sound legal basis.”
The Alternative Press Syndicate is a group of independent journalists unaffiliated with the official Lebanese press and its associated syndicates.
Last Friday, head of the Lebanese Order of Press Editors Joseph Al-Kassifi submitted an urgent legal request to ban the Alternative Press Syndicate from “practicing any activity through visual, audio and electronic media,” and to prevent the syndicate from “publishing any news, statements or articles of any kind.”
But the judge responsible for the decision, Elias Salah Mkhaiber, rejected the request.
Al-Kassifi, who was recently appointed, claimed that Alternative Press Syndicate practices violate Lebanese law. “They constitute a clear and direct violation of the rights, role and tasks of the Order of the Press Editors, and threaten the proper work of the union,” he said.
In response, the syndicate said that it would not back down from its fight for an independent media and will continue — through hundreds of journalists — to fight the destructive methods of the Order aimed at silencing independent journalism.
Al-Kassifi’s decision was also met with heavy criticism and backlash from the public, journalists and rights groups, who warned that it represented the continued repression of independent journalists and media in Lebanon.
Lebanese press freedom groups Samir Kassir Eyes and Journalists for Freedom, among others, condemned Al-Kassifi’s request, describing the move as “dangerous and strange.”