The International Federation of Journalists today condemned a “vicious and targeted attack” on a prominent Lebanese journalist who was seriously injured yesterday after a bomb exploded in her car.
Last night, May Chidiac, an anchorwoman with the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation, was seriously wounded in a car-bomb attack after which she is likely to have one of her limbs amputated. The bomb was planted under the front seat of Ms Chidiac's Range Rover and it exploded as she switched on the ignition in Jounieh, a Christian port town just north of Beirut.
“This is the second case of a high profile journalist in the Lebanon paying the price for independent reporting,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “While political tensions remain at a high it is crucial that journalists are not drawn into the firing line”.
The attack on Chidiac, a Christian, is the latest in a series of explosions in recent months that have targeted politicians and journalists who have spoken of their criticisms of the Syrian regime, which has long dominated Lebanon and treated it as a client state.
In June a similar car bomb killed Samir Kassir, a respected journalist who wrote a column in the An Nahar newspaper. In the days before he was killed he had written an article critical of the Syrian regime. Other bombs have killed or injured politicians but there have been no arrests. Syria denies any involvement. He was well-known for his anti-Syrian positions and his criticism of the "Lebanese police state" and had been harassed and threatened for years.
On Saturday a UN investigation team finished questioning several senior Syrian officials in connection with the murder of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, whose death on February 14 this year triggered massive street protests that forced the withdrawal of the Syrian army after a 29-year occupation.
The IFJ is calling on both the Lebanese authorities and the UN to carry out a special and immediate investigation into the killings of Chidiac and Kassir and to provide greater protection for journalists working in the country.
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The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries