French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday evening in Lebanon charged a journalist for the French newspaper “Le Figaro” and accused him of being “irresponsible” for claiming in an article that France threatens to impose sanctions on Lebanese officials who would impede the implementation of reforms, according to sources.
And scenes filmed by the French “LCA” channel showed the president angrily approaching the journalist at the conclusion of his visit to Beirut, which was marked by long hours of talks with Lebanese leaders about forming a government with a specific mission.
The French President told the senior correspondent, Georges Malbrunot, who specializes in Middle East affairs and who was a hostage to the “Islamic Army” in Iraq, “What I did, given the sensitivity of the issue…, is irresponsible,” adding, “It is irresponsible for France, irresponsible for those concerned and dangerous from the point of view”, An ethical view.
According to the scenes that spread widely on social media, the President said in a high tone, “You have always heard me defend journalists, and I will always do so.
But I am talking with you frankly, what I did is dangerous, unprofessional and mean.
Macron was talking about an article published by “Le Figaro” newspaper on August 31 in which Georges Malbrunot wrote that during his first visit to Beirut on August 6, two days after the port blew up, the French president threatened to impose sanctions on political officials who would impede the implementation of reforms.
“I am very surprised by the unacceptable ferocity of this attack, to which I responded,” the journalist told AFP.
I clarified the matter with the Elysee palace, for me the matter is over.
The French presidency confirmed that the incident “ended” after a conversation with the journalist and the newspaper.
The French presidency explained, “What the president accused him of, is that he did not give the Elysee the ability to comment on the information about it”.
This is the first time that the president has openly attacked a journalist.
The French president has sought months ago to calm relations with journalists, which were tense at the start of his presidential term.
In Beirut, he was asked about the trial of the perpetrators of the attack on “Charlie Hebdo” magazine, and on Tuesday he reiterated his respect for freedom of the press.
During the press conference, Macron criticized the article and the press without naming it.
He criticized those who “write the worst follies without any verification,” calling them to “ask the question directly”.
In response to questions about possible individual sanctions against Lebanese officials, Macron denied this hypothesis without completely ruling out a “broader sanctions mechanism” in the long term.