BEIRUT: Media groups and the European Union called for better reporting on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and international justice issues Friday, as they kicked off a three-day conference and training for journalists.
“Journalists have a crucial role to play, it’s their responsibility to present international justice in a clear and comprehensible manner, respecting the founding principles of justice including independence, accountability, equity, accessibility, efficiency and the presumption of innocence,” said Elsa Fenet from the EU.
The STL has been investigating the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri for years and has been subject to much criticism and political brinksmanship from politicians and reporters. Most recently, news outlets have published information they said was leaked from inside the court, possibly compromising the safety of witnesses, STL officials said.
At the conference reporters will get training in legal terminology, sourcing and how world news outlets cover international justice issues. Reporters and editors from The New York Times, CNN, Sam Houston State University and a number of international organizations are providing the training.
The conference kicked off Friday with a discussion among officials from the STL, International Criminal court and the Samir Kassir Foundation of how courts communicate with the public. The STL has heavily tweeted to convey information about the case.