ARTICLE 19 has submitted an amicus brief to the Special Tribunal of Lebanon on the contempt of court case held against Al-Jadeed TV and Karma Khayat. The trial starts on 16 April.
Khayat, deputy head of news at Al-Jadeed, faces up to seven years in prison, while the station could be ordered to pay fines of up to €100,000. The charges relate to broadcasts made in August 2012 regarding the witnesses to the Special Tribunal.
“The court should ensure that it makes a detailed analysis of the context of this case, taking into consideration the precautions taken by Al-Jadeed to conceal the identity of the witnesses. Blanket restrictions on media reporting of issues related to the running of the court risk a chilling effect on free expression” said Pierre François DOCQUIR, Senior Legal Officer ARTICLE 19.
The fact that only Lebanese media organisations have been indicted in this case, while international media outlets have also reported on leaked information from the court, raises concerns that national media stations are being singled out.
“While Al-Jadeed TV and its deputy head of news Khayat have been accused of undermining public confidence in the court, by exposing its inability to protect witness confidentiality, unnecessary or disproportionate sanctions on media outlets are more likely to undermine public confidence in the outcome of the proceedings,” he added.
For more information on the case, and to read ARTICLE 19’s submission to the Tribunal, see here.