The IWMF Condemns Accusations Against Co-Founder Raghida Dergham
August 31, 2020 – The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is appalled by recent, baseless accusations regarding Lebanese American journalist and IWMF co-founder Raghida Dergham’s coverage of the assassination of Prime Minister Rafic Hariri.
On August 20, news outlet Al-Mayadeen published and promoted commentary by General Mustafa Hamdan claiming that Dergham fabricated evidence and misled the investigation into Hariri’s assassination in 2005. There is no evidence of the validity of this accusation. Dergham’s reporting reflects that she did her job as a journalist to investigate and share the truth – a job she has done for more than four decades.
Dergham is an award-winning journalist with an extended career in foreign affairs and diplomacy reporting for Al-Hayat/LBC during the period in question; this accusation seeks only to endanger her reputation and safety. Following this accusation, Dergham experienced severe harassment and threats, including those against her own life.
One of the largest impediments to a free press is violence or threats of violence that directly impact a journalist’s ability to work – these attacks on journalists’ work do not come without consequences.
We join Dergham in demanding Al-Mayadeen retract these false claims and apologize immediately for the harm done. We also uphold our commitment to press freedom in Lebanon, which continues to face extreme intimidation and censorship.