Q: France has always stood by Lebanon. A military court has just sentenced a Lebanese journalist to 13 months in prison because of an article criticizing the army and for “insulting the institution of the military and its commander-in-chief.”
Lebanon’s laws, however, guarantee freedom of the press and prohibit jailing journalists for their professional activities. Furthermore, this ruling infringes upon the prerogatives of the Court of Publications, the only body with jurisdiction to rule on cases relating to journalists and the press.
What do you think of this authoritarian shift that affects the freedom of the press in a country that is experiencing one of the most serious economic and political crises in its history?
A: It is not up to me to comment on the internal procedural aspects of Lebanese courts, but I want to reaffirm France’s commitment to the freedom of speech and freedom of the press, in Lebanon and throughout the world.
The priority for all Lebanese political actors must be the implementation of the urgent reforms needed to help Lebanon emerge from the crisis. France will continue to stand by the Lebanese, as it has always done.