Hizbullah tightening media coverage

I remember last year journalists covering Lebanon were quite positive about the professionalism and relative openness (for a militia that faces constant dangers) of Hizbullah's press officers. I had read before (from McClatchy reporter Hannah Allam's excellent blog) that they were now impossible to deal with, and it is confirmed again by Charles Levinson's recent experience:

My experience with Hezbollah this week has left an unpleasant taste in my mouth. I had heard this from other journalist friends who have recently returned from Lebanon, but discovered it for myself this week: their interaction with the press borders on fascist. In southern Lebanon it is very difficult to find people of any confession who speak freely about the organization. Even mentioning Hezbollah by name in interviews seems often to make whoever you’re talking with a touch edgy and uncomfortable. By the end of the week, my Italian colleague was comparing trying to cover the Shiite organization to trying to cover the mafia in her home country.
For Hizbullah, this will prove counter-productive in the long-run...
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.