May Chidiac

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May Chidiac
May Chidiac.jpg
May Chidiac (2008)
Birth name May Chidiac
Born (1963-07-20) July 20, 1963 (age 51)
Beirut Lebanon
Nationality Lebanon Lebanese
Employer Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation
Spouse Not Married
Notable works and roles Host of "Bi Kol Jor'a"

May Chidiac (Arabic: مي شدياق‎) (born June 20, 1963) is a Lebanese Maronite journalist.

Chidiac is a former television journalist at the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC) and one of the station's main television anchors until an assassination attempt on her life. She was one of the few critics of Syria's keeping troops stationed in Lebanon after the end of the Lebanese Civil War and charged that the Taif Accords stipulated that Syria withdraw from Lebanon. On the day she was attacked, after the Cedar Revolution and Syria's troop withdrawal from Lebanon earlier that year, she hosted a talk show in which she criticized Syria's continuous meddling in Lebanon's affairs and voiced fears of further violence ahead of the UN report on the death of the former prime minister, Rafik Hariri. On February 3, 2009, she announced her resignation on her LBC show "Bi Kol Jor'a".

Assassination Attempt[edit]

Chidiac was seriously injured on 25 September 2005, by a car bomb in Jounieh, Lebanon. The bomb which nearly killed her was a one-pound device, detonated as she entered her car. Her left leg below the knee was blown off and her hair and clothes were set on fire. She was in stable condition following the amputation of her severely injured left arm. The blast was one of a series of bombings in Lebanon mostly targeting critics of Syria, but including the centrist Lebanese defense minister, Elias Murr. One other prominent journalist, Samir Kassir, and anti-Syrian politicians including George Hawi and Gebran Tueni, editor and publisher of the daily newspaper, An-Nahar, were killed in these attacks.

After months of treatment and numerous surgeries in Beirut and Paris, May appeared on TV on May 25, 2006, defiant, smiling and promising to return to journalism.

On 27 January 2006, Chidiac announced her candidacy for the vacated Maronite seat in Lebanon's Baabda-Aley district in a televised interview.

On 12 July 2006, May Chidiac returned to Beirut. Her first visit in Lebanon was to the shrine of Saint Charbel, in the Byblos region. This was the location where she spent the day before the attack on her life. She participated in a mass celebrated by the superior of the monastery, Fr. Tannous Nehme.

In 2007, May Chidiac published her biography, Le Ciel m'attendra (French for "heaven can wait”)[1] in which she tells her painful experience.

On February 3, 2009 May Chidiac made a surprise announcement on the air that she would no longer present "B Kil Jora'a" on LBC. She made no other comments about future career moves.

Awards[edit]

On 27 October 2006 May Chidiac received one of the three Courage in Journalism Awards presented by the International Women's Media Foundation.[2] The award ceremony was held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. An American reporter kidnapped in Iraq and a Chinese journalist twice jailed for her economic and political reporting also received this award.

On 3 May 2006, UNESCO awarded the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize to May Chidiac in recognition of her courage in defending and promoting freedom of the press.

On 3 May 2007, the former French president, Jacques Chirac awarded May Chidiac the Legion of Honour at the Elysée Palace in Paris.[3] Chirac described Chidiac as a "symbol of free speech in Lebanon."[4]

In 2010, Chidiac was named one of the International Press Institute's World Press Freedom Heroes.[5]

May Chidiac Foundation[edit]

In November 2009, Chidiac established the May Chidiac Foundation and its Media Institute (MCF-MI) aiming at supporting the development of knowledge and media production industries by providing young generations with the needed foundations to foster freedom of expression, human rights, democracy, and good governance. Through the past years, MCF has organized several regional conferences, covering media-related issues “Free Connected Minds”, and women’s rights focusing on showcasing the role of outstanding women leaders named “Women on the Front Lines” among other media related activities. In addition to the conferences, MCF rewards each year in its annual Gala Dinner & Media Awards Ceremony influential media figures.

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