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Money, Power and Weapons… and the Case of Jad Ghosn

Diana Moukalled
Lebanese Writer and Journalist
August 28, 2020
The press is being humiliated every day while simply performing its duties. So, confrontation is required, and the values ​​that the profession is supposed to emanate from, are today within the reach of media mercenaries…

Who is this “Grendizer” who is enraged by my criticism of how Hezbollah has exploited the occasion of Ashura for the sake of cheap political agendas and believes that “I am a self-loathing person and a self-flagellator”, who instigates division on a doctrinal basis?

Furthermore, who is “Umm- Nouf” who believes that I must identify with the regime’s policy in her country, just because I wrote for a Saudi press institution, otherwise I am a “mercenary”?

These are only two names among dozens of others, who bombarded me in the past few days on Twitter and Facebook, with insults, curses, and anger.

And I am just asking who they are, because I have been flooded with attacks and insults, firstly, for criticizing Hezbollah’s politicization of religious rituals and using them in the scene of the Lebanese division, and secondly because I have criticized a fierce attack launched against the journalist Jad Ghosn.

Grendizer, the Divine Party, and the Saudi “Umm- Nouf” are two elements of anonymous legions that have no clear name, image or identity. They fill our spaces with virtual attacks to the extent that they have launched a frenzied campaign, that successfully prevented Ghosn from working at Bloomberg Station in Dubai because he has repeatedly criticized the Saudi regime. It is worth noting that not all the campaign members are anonymous, there are very well- known members among them. However, the anonymous identities of dozens of accounts that use the same idea, the same style, the same sentence, and even the same poverty of expression, seem to be linked to one person or rather a single organization.

Yes, regimes have succeeded in subjugating media figures and turning them into mouthpieces, whose top mission is to keep silent, then to promote, and the more brazen and shameless you are, the higher your position is.

In the case of Jad Ghosn, the inconsistencies of the campaign launched against him seem stark in its two directions. First of all, the question about a journalist, known for his critical stances against the Saudi regime, who was obliged to leave Lebanon and work for a channel that supports a regime that he is not in line with, is certainly a legitimate question, but in my opinion, it reflects a more serious fact which is the stifling state of the standards and priorities of the journalistic labor market. The frenzied attack against Jad was missing all the standards of morality and professionalism. It also points out what we have reached in terms of absolute identification between media institutions and funding bodies, as well as in terms of the ability of the division to penetrate into the heart of institutions, and turn them into sectarian and mercenary platforms.

The situation is really suffocating.

We repeat this phrase, using it as a prelude to almost any attempt to suggest or discuss an idea about reality. When the relationship between freedom of expression and the media and power holders is as exposed and blatant as it is today, we should feel ashamed. No, we should be mortified.

To be a privileged or acceptable media figure, you must first keep your mouth shut.

Secondly, when you see the imprisonment of prisoners of conscience and human rights activists in Saudi Arabia, you must justify the case that they are “agents”. Moreover, when you see a nation wiped out by barrel bombs and chemical weapons in Syria, you have to shout that they are terrorists, and when you see a semi-nuclear bomb exploding in your face in Beirut, you have to be silent in the name of resistance, weapons and the rights of factions. Also, when you see Qatar spending money on extremists and ideological organizations stifling our lives in the name of religion, you have to say that this is our culture, and when you see Iran imprisoning activists and sending militias to kill in Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen, you have to shout that this road is heading to Al- Quds. And if the United Arab of Emirates normalized its relations with a devil like Benjamin Netanyahu, that is to preserve peace and for the Palestinian cause.

Only when you see the adversary involved, you can take a position and fight desperately. However, if your team or party is the subject of the complaint, then you should look the other way and start to promote, publicize and show off.

Yes, the regimes have succeeded in subjugating media figures and turning them into mouthpieces, whose top mission is to keep silent, then to promote, and the more brazen and shameless you are, the higher your position is.

Can you attack and criticize the politicization of “Hezbollah” and the exploitation of religious occasions for further mobilization, without having someone insulting you, saying that you are a self-hating racist because Shiites cannot be separated from “Hezbollah”?

Besides, can you say that there are specific regimes, like Saudi Arabia, practicing oppression, tyranny and discrimination between people and governments without facing countless numbers of accounts, which have no clear identity, their all and only message is to deter you and say that there is no separation between systems and peoples?

To be a privileged or acceptable media figure, you must first keep your mouth shut.

What can be done in light of this suffocation with the presence of a media inflated by financing this stifling political division? How can we verify facts, track them down, and formulate them without submitting them to the logic of bias that splits everything around us?

The task seems difficult; to take a position that is inconsistent with the biases and divisions of the funder, is an adventure that could result in exclusion and dismissal.

The press is being humiliated every day while doing its duty and in its reality. So, confrontation is required, and the values ​​that the profession is supposed to emanate from, are today within the reach of media mercenaries who have established their presence at the expense of our freedoms and rights, and at the expense of the ethics and values of the profession.

The answer is not easy, as we are part of a scene that does not help in telling and revealing the truth. That is indeed faced by major obstacles, not the least of which is to annoy Mr. “Grendizer” or the colleague “Umm- Nouf”!

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