Lebanese Charges Against International Herald Tribune
a "Sad Comment" on Press Freedom in Lebanon
New York, NY, April 15, 2002 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today criticized the Lebanese government for its decision to file charges against the International Herald Tribune after the newspaper published an ADL advertisement in support of Israel, calling the episode "a sad comment on press freedom" in Lebanon.
"Lebanon's case against the IHT is a sad comment on press freedom and a wake up call for those who insist the neighborhood in the Middle East is changing and ready for peace," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "While pretending to be a democracy that supports freedom of speech, Lebanon is actually curbing press freedom - at least when it comes to any statements that reflect positively on Israel."
The ADL ad appeared in the April 6 edition of IHT with the headline, "Israel we are with you. Now more than ever." Shortly after the ad's publication, the chief public prosecutor in Beirut threatened to press charges against the newspaper for alleged violations of Lebanon's Publications Law, which prohibits foreign newspapers from publishing views deemed as "propaganda" for Israel.
The prosecutor, Joseph Maamari, formally announced charges against the newspaper and its legal representative in Lebanon, Jamil Mroue, on April 11. Mr. Mroue is editor in chief and publisher of Lebanon's English-language Daily Star newspaper, which has been jointly distributed with the IHT as an insert under agreement since July 2001.
Lebanese distribution of the IHT was withheld on April 11 when the newspaper carried a second ADL ad accusing European nations of "playing a detrimental role in the face of the murder of Jews in Israel." ADL's ads have recently been featured in several other major newspapers, including The Washington Post and The New York Times.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.