December 12th, 2000
In the cadre of the action of the media observer constituted by the World Forum of Professionals in the Secular and Religious Media in Lebanon, which aims to convoy mass medias and their employees in order to guarantee the freedom of expressing the opinion, the Forum issued the following statement:
1. The Forum is concerned about the surprisingly escalation of limiting the space of media freedom to the Lebanese press, and about the financial difficulties and others which became a threat to continuity of some medias. The Forum regrets the pressures that the directors of the colleague Al Nahar newspaper lately encountered, and considers that they pose questions about the action mechanism of some services, revealing the clear contradiction between the positive and ideal speech issued by the executive power from one side, and procedures these services adopt from the other side. Thus, that action leads to confidence convulsion in the seriousness and credibility of the internal and external public opinion regarding the respect of the Constitution and the Lebanese laws.
2. Nevertheless, the Forum considers that the suspension of the colleague “Nida’ Al Watan” newspaper publication violates the press, and poses an essential issue, which is the power extent of the Lebanese media institutions to prevent their independence, in an era where the materialism predominates moral and human values. Because of the economic straits from which the nation suffers, the Forum is concerned about a great number of members of the Lebanese media family. This calls for studying the conditions of audiovisual and written Lebanese media, by representing it as an industrial and economic activity as other Lebanese sectors, and for establishing Round Tables which discuss the endurance and needs of media body, and puts an evaluating conception, patronized by the Information ministry, the national council for media, the syndicates of press and editors, and other institutions which directly operate with media and publicity sectors.
The Forum urges to sympathize with the “Nida’ Al Watan” family, administration and auditors, hoping that the administration of the press seeks to transmit the complete right to the colleagues publicists and technicians who showed all year – long a high moral engagement.
3. The Forum salutes the courage of the Lebanese press which tries, despite the difficulties and psychic and economic pressures, to assume its media and national mission, believing that the media freedom and the sovereignty of the Lebanese identity do not separate whatever it takes of resistance and martyrdom to defend them. Officials shall excel in reading the great Lebanese experience in this domain. 4. The Forum delegation discussed yesterday afternoon media issues with the new Roman Catholic Patriarch Gregory III Laham. It stressed on the importance of publicists’ role in establishing “the civilization of love”, revealing the truth in order to enrich the public opinion with principles which serve the human’s dignity in all its dimensions, and defending the freedom of expression which is a human and spiritual right not anyone’s strength, regardless the belonging to the race, confession and color. This discussion was during the congratulation visit of the Forum delegation to the new Patriarch at the Patriarchate residence at Rabwe.
Translated by: Joyce Tary