Beirut, January 23, 2023 — Lebanese authorities must thoroughly investigate the recent bombing of the privately owned news and entertainment broadcaster LBCI and ensure perpetrators are held to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Monday.
At about 9 p.m. on Sunday, January 22, two unidentified attackers on a motorcycle threw a bomb at LBCI’s headquarters in the town of Adma, north of Beirut. The device exploded in the parking lot and damaged vehicles owned by the station, according to news reports, the local press freedom group Skeyes, and multiple reports by LBCI.
No one was injured in the attack, which occurred amid criticism and threats directed at LBCI after it aired a comedy show that satirized a dialect used by Shiite Muslims, those reports said.
“The bombing of LBCI in Lebanon, in apparent retaliation for a comedy segment, is a deeply troubling attack on free expression,” said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna, in New York. “Lebanese authorities must swiftly investigate this attack, hold those responsible to account, and do all in their power to ensure that such actions are not repeated.”
The broadcaster and the comedians featured in the show received threatening messages after the satirical segment aired, according to Skeyes and tweets reviewed by CPJ.
In a statement, the channel said it trusted authorities to conduct a thorough investigation. Lebanese Internal Security Forces spokesperson Joseph Mousallam told CPJ that no information could be disclosed about the attack while the investigation was ongoing.
CPJ also called LBCI TV owner Pierre El Daher, but he said he preferred not to comment until security forces had finished investigating the attack.