The International Catholic Union of the Press in Lebanon (UCIP-Lebanon) in its Statement on Satire TV Shows: The Critical Spirit is Necessary for Development and Oppressive Censorship Leads to Totalitarianism
UCIP Media Observatory in Lebanon took stock of the controversy surrounding some satire TV shows namely "LOL" show as well as the relevant positions of some concerned parties, in particular the National Media Council and some important religious and media figures. This subject is of great importance and sensitivity given that it could transgress religious boundaries and offend media values. Therefore, UCIP Media Observatory considers that this subject must be tackled on the basis of sound principles in order to avoid any backlash that could have social repercussions.
1- Freedoms of opinion and criticism are fundamental to the development of mankind and human intellect as well as societies. Thus, defending them must be a top priority for us. Any censorship imposed on these freedoms would be an unbearable danger. In fact, censorships have always lead to totalitarian regimes.
2- Clergies and some imminent religious scholars can be subject to criticism and in some cases; they have taken advantage of this criticism to rectify their stances.
3- Freedom of opinion does not mean offending dignity or harming others or even tarnishing their reputation, for freedom is synonymous with responsibility.
4- Media institutions must abide by ethics in order to develop and to have self-control. Lebanese media institutions fall short blatantly in this regard and they must establish internal legislations to guide their work.
5- We thank the National Media Council for trying to set things straight with the show and for reiterating the importance of work ethics. However, the standards must be clear because an ambiguous standard cannot represent a general rule.
6- The judicial authorities are the only reference that could rule in such situations especially when someone suffered damage. All media institutions need to reform their legislations in line with the developments in order to establish new rules and frameworks.
In conclusion, the Union hopes that all Lebanese media institutions would develop a sense of humor in their shows that does not aim at settling scores. Only true humor can unite the Lebanese for it is constructive and not destructive and it brings joy not pain.
Translated by: Marie-Lou Nicolas