UCIP-Lebanon: The Suit against OTV Violates the Law
On June 16, 2010, the International Catholic Union of the Press in Lebanon (UCIP-Lebanon) issued a statement in support with OTV channel, considering that the suit brought against it before the Judge in Chambers in Beirut runs counter to the laws in force. Ironically, the suit was filed because of a part in a satire TV show the channel accepted not to broadcast. Efforts must be redoubled in order to protect media freedoms in Lebanon.
The Union is surprised at the draconian sanctions taken by some influential politicians. Therefore, it renews its confidence in the wisdom of the judicial authorities as well as the relevant authorities in the Ministry of Information, the National Media Council, the Press Syndicate and the Press Writers Syndicate. It also has confidence in the good sense of the public opinion that will put an end to this mockery undermining justice and media freedoms that are the raison d'être of Lebanon. In order to avoid a tragedy similar to the closing of MTV channel (a wrongful decision that was later revoked), UCIP reaffirms the following:
1- It is necessary to separate between political and judicial systems in all matters, including the suit filed against OTV channel in order to preserve the separation of powers; a fundamental principle at the heart of every democratic regime.
2- It is necessary to establish modern legislations in line with the latest developments in communication, namely the so-called "social networks" highly used in Lebanon and elsewhere i.e. "U-Tube" and "Facebook"; just to name a few.
3- It is necessary to redouble efforts in order to modernize existing laws, in particular the press law and the audiovisual law that need to be reviewed permanently. In the case of the lawsuit filed against OTV, the tribunal has to deal with many complicated IT-related enquires in order to find the identity of the person to blame. Is such thing possible?
The Union renews its confidence in a reinforced media freedom, more resilient to shocks after the OTV case. The media will be able to overcome corruption with the help of the Lebanese that are fully aware of its importance to defend Lebanon values.
Translated by: Marie-Lou Nicolas