Antelias, August 16, 2005
1- The Forum condemns the privatization projects of Television of Lebanon and Lebanese radio. It considers that they include uncalculated and precipitated ideas which do not serve the public interest. Before taking any step of that kind, it is necessary to make suitable scientific, marketing and cultural studies in order to avoid to fall into error while dealing with this institution as it previously happened.
2- Proceeding in privatizing Television of Lebanon apparently aims to decrease the State lost in activating this service. If this was the real aim from the privatization, it is not the accurate resolution of the problem from which suffers the State television since its establishment. The regression of this channel and its continuous lost go back to the bad State administration of this service and its transformation to an official advertisement tribune and an arbitrary employing institution. Thus, the safety resolution is in a safety administration, which is in removing the official media ideology, and setting a study about a method for managing it, and using it for the service of public interest and not for political power interest.
3- Who proposes the privatization of the official media forgets on one side the great role assumed by the mass media today in being cultural, media, and first informational source, and forgets on the other side the role the State can assume through its mass media in promoting the culture, spreading enhancement, and assuring tribunes for art and creation. These characteristics became semi – absent in private media aiming to material gain, and generally at the expense of creation and high art. Indeed, the official media is firstly in the service of public issues in advanced occidental States.
4- The Maronite Patriarchal assembly stressed on the major role “which can be assumed by the official mass media – whereas it abandoned its advertisement propagation role – which is promoting national, human and cultural values on which is based the society, derived from conceded traditions, noble history, rich experiences and far and original aspirations”, mainly Lebanese common values between all confessions. The assembly called as well to change the concept of “official media” into the concept of “public media”, an action which means the liberation of this media “from the dependency of the governing power and the market force. And because it is financed by the public sector, it is characterized in encouraging cultural and educative constructive programs, thus it is not obliged to adopt excitement and cheap attraction elements”.
5- The World Forum of Professionals in the Secular and Religious Media – Lebanon (UCIP Lebanon) invites the institutions of the civil society which are concerned about culture and media, to make a unified movement in order to rescue Television of Lebanon and the official radio, and to work on transforming them into a tool which serve the culture, science, art and patrimony instead of their current condition which generally tends to serve private interests more than serving public interests.
Translated by: Joyce Tary