On August 11, 2021, Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary-General of Lebanese Hizbullah, warned of psychological warfare against resistance factions in Lebanon and elsewhere, stressing that there should be an effort to expose it.
His statement was part of a speech he delivered in the southern suburbs of Beirut on the third night of the Islamic month of Muharram, whose 10th day is marked as the anniversary of the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of prophet Muhammad, who is cherished by Shi’ites.
“The psychological and media war being waged against the resistance and the oppressed everywhere in this world should not be underestimated. Not all wars are military ones. The same thing happened with Imam Hussein, who was accused of having rebelled against the legitimate imam, and some said that he sought money, prestige, and power, and some said it was a tribal problem, and some said that the story was personal. The psychological and media war is ongoing and there are many indications.”
Nasrallah also called on supporters of the resistance factions to “fortify themselves against the hostile psychological warfare,” adding that while they can freely criticize the political situation, they should refrain from personal defamation. He told supporters to use the available media and information resources.
Citing a Quranic verse that urges Muslim to investigate truth before making a judgment, he said: “In the face of psychological warfare based on lies, slander, distortion of facts, the Holy Quran established an immunization rule so that such wars do not affect us and do not push us to doubt, loss, and despair […] Not every piece of news must be accepted, but rather, it must be clarified and confirmed before it is circulated and published.”
Nasrallah pointed out that “our media strategy, in both defense and attack, is based on rules, including clearly stating the position of the resistance to the people, along with logically reasoned arguments to so that they have the ability to analyze and take a position.
Discussing the role of his supporters in countering what he described as the psychological warfare against the resistance factions, he stressed that “the media battle is everyone’s responsibility, and everyone participates in it. Today, the most dangerous and most important is social media, and this allows everyone to be part of the media front in defense and attack.”
Noting the impact of social media in disinformation, particularly in U.S. politics, he stated that “there are too many voices in the United States that call for restrictions on social media sites because they contribute to the spread of hatred, violence, and crime.”
However, he told his supporters, to “turn the threat of social media into an opportunity and take advantage of it and do not waste it.”
The 60-year-old leader further stressed: “We do not claim the ability to control social media, and no political leadership can be held responsible for positions that its audience may have taken on social media.” However, he noted, when events occur, he often asks his audience to wait for guidance from the leadership of Hizbullah or the scholars, because sometimes the best course of action may be to remain silent and not to respond.”
“When we respond, we should not engage in personal defamation, but it is possible to respond to the situation,” he said, concluding that “any person, whether he has an official or religious or civil status, is subject to criticism but not defamation.