April 23, 2024

Press Freedom

United Nations January 9, 2006

The Honorable Kofi Annan
United Nations Headquarters
New York , NY 10017
Fax: (212) 963-7055

Dear Mr. Secretary-General:

We write to urge you to use all the powers of the United Nations to resolve the sorry crisis now engulfing the government and the free press of Lebanon. Last month’s Security Council resolution authorized the International Independent Investigation Commission that is probing the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri in February, 2005, to “extend its technical assistance” to Lebanese authorities for their investigations into attacks on journalists and other political figures over the past year. The Council did not specify that the investigation should include the attacks on journalists, but it called on you to “present recommendations to expand the mandate of the Commission to include investigations of those other attacks.” We hope you will follow through promptly and effectively.

The toll on journalists has been severe, and Lebanese media are increasingly intimidated into self-censorship. Gebran Tueni, managing director and
columnist of the daily, Al-Nahar, and his fellow Al-Nahar columnist, Samir Qassir, have been killed in car bombings. Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation
talk show host, May Chidiac, was maimed in another car bombing. These three journalists were all known for their outspokenness against the Syrian government and its allies, who have transparently been directing policy in Lebanon. Under these circumstances, it is futile to ask the government of Lebanon to attempt to intervene. Only the United Nations can restore order and accountability.

Thus far, no arrests have been made in any of these attacks. Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora told Lebanese and international news organizations
last month that “there is no doubt” that the attacks on journalists and others are related to the UN Investigation into al-Hariri’s assassination. We join the Committee to Protect Journalists in arguing that a new Security Council mandate would help to identify those responsible and bring them to justice. The failure to send a strong message can only further undermine
press freedom in Lebanon and the region, and encourage further attacks.

Thank you for your attention.  We hope you will reply.

Very truly yours,
Larry Martz
Norman Schorr
Co-chairmen, Freedom of the Press Committee



Emile Lahoud

Office of the President
Baabda Palace

Republic of Lebanon
Fax:  (011.96.11) 42-53-95/ 393

Farid Abboud
Ambassador of Lebanon to the U.S.A.
Embassy of the Republic of Lebanon
2560 28th Street, NW
Washington , DC   20008
Fax:  (202) 939-6324

Ambassador Sami Qaranful
Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Lebanon
866 United Nations Plaza, Rooms 531-533
New York , NY   10017
Fax:  (212) 838-2819

Jeffrey Feltman
U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon
Embassy of the United States of America
P.O.Box70-840  Antelias
Fax:  (011.96.11)  54-41-36

Dar Al Hayat


An Nahar