The news that Hezbollah detained three Brazilian reporters on August 15 as they prepared reports in a restaurant in Beirut’s southern suburbs, would have gone unnoticed had it not been for a statement issued by Reporters Without Borders condemning the act.
The three journalists were detained for a number of hours during which they were transported to three locations in order to verify their identities. Audio-visual equipment was confiscated and the reporters were released provided that they returned immediately to London, according to the statement.
A French photographer was also detained days before this incident in Beirut’s southern suburbs before being released.
Such incidents continue to recur in Hezbollah’s regions of influence to the extent that it has become a tradition in itself as part of media work related to the “the resistance.”
However, it is as if there is persistence, or perhaps a secret understanding, amongst the people of the culture of “resistance” embodied by Hezbollah, and amongst those who oppose it, that violations of this kind (i.e. the detaining of journalists) do not need to be considered.
This is demonstrated by the fact that the incident was barely reported on by the Lebanese media (let alone the Arab media). Even if it was reported, the news hardly triggered any reaction despite the fact that this very press was preoccupied with Australia’s efforts to block Hezbollah’s Al Manar television channel from being broadcast in its territories. However, it is apparent that the freedom to broadcast Hezbollah’s media to the world is not reciprocated by an equal freedom for media coverage of the party’s spheres of influence and its society.
The arrest of reporters who do not possess permits issued by Hezbollah’s Media Office has become repetitive practice even if those reporters have been granted permits by the Lebanese Ministry of Information. Those permits are worthless perhaps because they are issued by the “non-resisting” state.
It is just another one of the realities that the society of “resistance” is based upon and incidents such as these have become commonplace. This society does not create any uproar or debate, which should be raised because of the obstruction to media work and the restriction of photographing anything in Hezbollah’s regions of influence.
The debate is common and repetitive for Hezbollah and its supporters who see nothing wrong in arresting a journalist, politician or citizen, which has been taking place on a large scale recently. The argument has been repeated over and over to the extent that we can imagine ourselves always hearing people say, “It is the resistance, don’t you understand?!”
Didn’t party leaders recently raise the slogan of ‘No Lebanon without resistance’?
It is the everlasting task that should answer any objections or reservations regarding the party’s sole possession of missions, capabilities and weapons that belong to Lebanon alone.
To limit the role of Lebanese groups and their helpless state to the task of “resistance” means that all the misfortunes of life are subject to- and employed in- this equation. But what about in relation to freedoms!
This very “resistance” has previously arrested reporters and treated them harshly, burnt and closed radio and television stations as well as a newspaper yet it was not held accountable. “But that’s the resistance,” is the quick answer we hear from the “opposition.”