BEIRUT — Caretaker Information Minister Ziad Makari Saturday expressed his support for the rights of "freedom of opinion and expression" of two Lebanese journalists summoned for questioning by the security forces, the state-run National News Agency reported.
State Security Thursday summoned for questioning Jean Kassir, co-founder of the online media outlet Megaphone News, while the Anti-Cybercrime Bureau Friday summoned Lara Bitar, editor-in-chief of the investigative journalism outlet The Public Source.
During his conversations with Kassir and Bitar, the NNA said, Makari stressed "his eagerness for respecting freedom of opinion and expression which the Lebanese constitution guarantees."
Makari insisted upon the importance of solving any issues arising from the practice of free expression "in front of the relevant judiciary." He also said that the summoning "will be followed closely to put things on the right path."
Megaphone claimed Friday that Ghassan Oueidat, public prosecutor at the Court of Cassation, is behind Jean Kassir's summons. The summons, the outlet said, was issued in response to a March 1 Instagram post entitled, "Lebanon ruled by fugitives from justice," in which Oueidat's name appears among the officials suspected in the Aug.4, 2020, Beirut blast investigation.
The Public Source reported Friday that the Anti-Cybercrime Bureau had summoned editor-in-chief Lara Bitar "after a complaint from the Lebanese Forces." The Lebanese Forces (LF) reportedly reproached Bitar for publishing an article in August detailing the LF's alleged environmental crimes during and after the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), in which the party's militia was an active participant.