In the evening of March 29, 2020, unidentified assailants fired dozens of bullets at the house and office of Shuaib Zakaria, a reporter for local broadcaster Radio Delta North and the news website Madinati, in the village of Fnaidek, in the northern Lebanese governorate of Akkar, according Zakaria, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app, and a report by the Skeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom, a regional press freedom group.
“Minutes after I had left the office, which is below my home, I heard gunfire and saw that the office was riddled with 30 bullets, which shattered the windows and hit some equipment, including cameras and printers,” Zakaria told CPJ.
Zakaria posted a video and pictures on his Facebook account showing bullet holes in the door, windows, and wall of his office, shattered glass on the floor and the stairs, and a bullet hole in a printer.
Zakaria covers local news in Akkar; on the day of the attack, he covered a protest by fishermen demanding government compensation for lost revenue over the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. He also recently covered local fundraising efforts and community meetings in Akkar in response to the virus.
Zakaria told CPJ he had never received threats over his work as a journalist or had to file a complaint with the police until now. He told CPJ that his friends said his work may put him in danger, but said he did not know of anyone who might seek to hurt him.
He went to the police station and filed a complaint about the attack, he said.
“The police are still investigating the incident, but friends of mine have told me that the police are under pressure from politicians to stall the investigation so that it yields no results,” Zakaria said.
CPJ emailed the Lebanese Interior Security Forces, which oversees the country’s police, for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.
Zakaria also posts news to Facebook account, which has nearly 7,000 followers.
Editor’s note: The date of the attack has been corrected in the first paragraph.