Sovereign Front for Lebanon issues statement on public freedoms

BEIRUT — After Lebanon dropped 23 ranks in Reporters Without Borders’ world press freedom classification, the Sovereign Front for Lebanon issued a statement criticizing the Lebanese government.

According to the statement, since Lebanese President Michel Aoun assumed office, the prosecutions and allegations against activists, opinion leaders, and journalists have dramatically increased, with anyone who criticizes the President of the Republic arrested.

The statement added that, “Since the outbreak of the October 2019 uprising and the fierce campaign against opponents of the ruling class, the opposition against Hezbollah grew stronger, even via the social media.”

“During the past few years, we have witnessed a serious deterioration in freedom of expression and media freedoms in Lebanon, which prompted Human Rights Watch and more than 13 Lebanese and international institutions to unite efforts to confront the authorities’ attempts to suppress public freedoms,” read the statement.

The Front added that the harassment and prosecutions by the Lebanese government against opinion leaders in Lebanon cannot be tolerated. Demonstrators who expressed their opinion by peaceful and civilized means were repeatedly suppressed by the authorities, it added.

The statement pointed out that Lebanon’s usual position in freedom lists must be preserved and that arrests contradict the constitution and human rights.

“The Front will follow-up on this issue, which is fundamental and related to our free existence, reputation, and history,” the statement concluded.