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Sawt Beirut International: Highlighting ‘Hezbollah’s crimes against Lebanon’

CAIRO: Sawt Beirut International is a Lebanese media outlet that has set itself a mission to fight corruption and hold accountable the country’s politicians, who are widely viewed as dishonest.

Over the years, it has worked on reflecting Lebanese public anger toward the country’s political system, which is rife with corruption.

The devastating explosion this month at the Port of Beirut, together with the ongoing economic crisis, have revealed deeply rooted problems within the political establishment.

Jerry Maher, founder of Sawt Beirut International, said the political system is responsible for the port explosion because politicians were aware of the existence of the explosive chemicals being stored there.

“Every single one of them must have known of the existence of these materials but took no action,” he told Arab News.

Hezbollah is most responsible because “these detonatable materials and weapons were headed to” the Iran-backed group, he said.

Sawt Beirut International is known for its anti-Hezbollah stance, which has put the outlet in the group’s crosshairs.

Hezbollah, which has both military and political influence throughout Lebanon, has threatened to kill some of the outlet’s staff over its coverage. 

Maher said Sawt Beirut International is fighting to highlight “Hezbollah’s crimes against Lebanon,” and will not just allow them to go unnoticed.

“We’re even against all politicians who came during the period 2005-2019 who we consider political partners in bolstering the presence of Hezbollah in Lebanese politics over the course of years,” he added.

A general view shows the damaged port area in the aftermath of a massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, August 17, 2020. (Reuters)

How it started 

With a team of more than 50 — including reporters, writers and editors — based in various parts of the world, Sawt Beirut International provides the latest news on Lebanon and global affairs.

The website is mainly based in Sweden, but has offices in Italy and France, and plans to open another in the UAE.

Sawt Beirut International began operating in 2005 as a radio station and grew in popularity during the war between Israel and Hezbollah in July 2006. 

At the time, the radio channel was transmitting news on Lebanon around the clock to its listeners, specifically those in the West. 

It employed highly experienced journalists who had previously worked for established channels such as Abu Dhabi TV and the Lebanese Future TV. 

More recently, Sawt Beirut International has worked on attracting Lebanese millennials living abroad and trying to get them more in touch with what is happening in their homeland.

Today it features a weekly political program called “Sawt El-Nas,” presented by veteran journalist Mario Aboud. The show hosts politicians to discuss serious issues affecting the nation.

More than 40 million viewers have watched the news videos and live broadcasts on its Facebook page during the past 28 days.

Sawt Beirut International is planning a new satirical program to poke fun at Lebanese politicians.

Maher said the website is self-funded, and is not funded by any international party or businesspeople.

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