BEIRUT: Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi defended Tuesday the U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon that recently issued summons for two Lebanese journalists and said newspersons must do their duty under the law.
Rifi said that while freedom of expression is protected by the Lebanese Constitution, journalists, under Lebanese law, are “prohibited from breaching the confidentiality of the judicial investigation and publishing of witnesses’ names, which could have a negative impact on the course of justice."
Rifi reaffirmed Lebanon’s commitment to cooperate with the STL.
Last week, the STL court accused editors from Al-Akhbar newspaper and Al-Jadeed television of obstructing justice and contempt after the two outlets published a list of alleged STL witnesses.
The court, which is in the process of trying five Hezbollah suspects for involvement in the 2005 killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, issued a summons for Ibrahim al-Amin, the editor-in-chief of the pro- Hezbollah daily Al-Akhbar, and Karma al-Khayyat, the deputy head of news at Al-Jadeed TV.
Head of Editors' Syndicate Elias Aoun called on media outlets to observe a one-day strike on May 13 in solidarity with Al-Akhbar and Al-Jadeed.
Lebanese officials of all stripes attended a gathering Monday in support of Amin and Khayyat.