In Memory of Lebanese Journalism Martyrs and Lebanon Martyrs, UCIP Calls on Media to Promote the Culture of Dialogue and Peace
Pope Visit to Jordan Reaffirms Religious and Cultural Coexistence
The International Catholic Union of the Press in Lebanon (UCIP-Lebanon) called on Lebanese media institutions to stay faithful to their historical message for which many people sacrificed their lives in order to defend the independence of Lebanon and its sovereignty. For UCIP, media message during elections must be characterized with values of respect and peaceful coexistence, far from defiance and violence. Moreover, the Union praised Pope Benedict XVI visit to the Holy Land.
In this context, UCIP issued the following statement:
1- On the occasion of Martyrs and Lebanese Journalism Martyrs Day, the Union would like to reiterate the historical role of the Lebanese press in times of Ottoman despotism and the French Mandate. Later, the Lebanese press continued to deploy efforts aiming at promoting independence, liberating the territories from Israeli occupation and Syrian Tutelage, and rooting out corruption. We cannot but praise such historical efforts.
2- We cannot also forget the national and cultural role of the Lebanese press during the second Arab renaissance, contributing to the national awakening, reviving the Arab language and harmonizing Arab culture with globalization. In this regard, Arab Christians played a pioneering role through the establishment of printing houses in monasteries and educational institutions. We urge them today to resume the pioneering role they had in the past and avoid dispute and division which undermine the cultural productivity and sap their active participation in national development.
3- Lebanon and the modern Arab World take great pride in the Lebanese press accomplishments which are the fruits of a Muslim-Christian partnership. Nowadays, the Lebanese press must assume many big responsibilities in order to resume its role and defend human rights and national causes. Political and sectarian affiliation is a major problem that tarnishes the image of the majority of Lebanese media institutions. In fact these institutions have been transformed into a tool in the hands of belligerent parties, so now they favor defiance and violence instead of advocating democratic dialogue and respect for noble human values that Lebanon has always championed.
4- The legislative elections constitute a battlefield and a strength trial for both media institutions and politicians. They are also an opportunity to champion dialogue and focus on new priorities in the political, social and economic fields. The press can therefore play its educational role, enhancing national awakening, evaluating the political speech and correcting it when necessary. The press should not be exploited with the aim of promoting violence and triggering social conflicts.
5- Pope Benedict XVI visit to the Holy Land in Jordan, Palestine and Israel is a major spiritual, social and cultural step in the cradle of the 3 monotheistic religions. It is also a return to the origins of civilization, of humanity and faith where Jesus was born and Christianity appeared for the first time. Furthermore, it is an occasion to reiterate the importance of coexistence amongst the Abrahamic religions as well as dialogue in a context of liberty and mutual respect, far away from violence especially when it is hidden behind faith in God, the all merciful.
The Union hopes that this historic visit would encourage Eastern Christians to stay in their territories, no matter how big the challenges where and dissuade them from emigrating and destroying the hopes in a religious and cultural coexistence in the land of peace and love.
Translated by: Marie-Lou Nicolas