A row has broken out between European ambassadors and a Lebanese news agency after they reported Western governments were preparing to evacuate their citizens.
The LibanCall news service carried a report on Sunday in which they alleged that European states were preparing to evacuate their citizens from Lebanon following the mortar attacks that injured four people in southern Beirut on Saturday night.
European Union (EU) representatives denied the report and the agency has refused to apologize for the claim.
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“European embassies are being [sic] ready to evacuate their nationals from Lebanon, a source told LibanCall” the up-to-the-minute wire agency reported.
Danish Ambassador Jan Top Christensen said there was no truth to the claims, accusing LibanCall of poor-quality journalism. “They don’t allow themselves time to check the information. If they had checked with the head of the EU delegation they would have been told this was incorrect information,” he told Executive.
Christensen said that the European Union formally asked the company to send a message correcting for the message, but they refused. He added that they had decided to stop subscribing to the LibanCall service after the report.
“Things like [this are] serious misinformation — they didn’t want to correct it, we tried from an EU side but they referred to freedom of expression, so I said we will talk about freedom of subscription,” he quipped.
A representative of LibanCall, who did not want to be named, told Executive that they stood by the story and claimed that sources in multiple European embassies had tipped them off about the plans.
Christensen added that he had been dissatisfied with the service provided by the company for some time, and that he felt much of Lebanon’s media was motivated by political motivations, rather than objectivity.
“There is some serious [political] editing at the newspapers…unfortunately there is little tradition of critical journalism – where they really review the so-called information and check views expressed by one person with maybe the opposite,” he said.