Antelias, June 9, 2004
On the second anniversary of closing MTV channel and Mount of Lebanon radio, the World Forum of Professionals in the Secular and Religious Media – Lebanon called upon the Lebanese authorities to revoke the closing of the two channels in order to maintain media freedoms in Lebanon, and to adopt a new law for the mass media which puts an end to the political and religious license partnership. The statement of the Forum included the following:
1- The closing of “MTV” television and “Mount of Lebanon radio” constituted a black point in the mandate register and in the media and political freedoms history in Lebanon. It will remain an example in the frame of violating freedoms of media and shutting down the opposed voices.
2- The closing affected the mass media in Lebanon, so they became afraid of similar resolution whenever they enrage official authorities. Thus, the content of other television channels became monotone, which broke down the role of the media in observing and evaluating the performance of the political authority. This means that the main role of mass media in democratic states came to be absent.
3- In addition of closing these two channels, Lebanon lost in the last years the media pioneer role in the Arab World which has characterized it and made it a home for intelligentsia in the Arab World. Moreover, its international qualification in media freedoms fell to the rank 106 over 166 countries.
4- Stemming from these facts, the World Forum of Professionals in the Secular and Religious Media – Lebanon wishes that the responsible Lebanese authorities operate to reopen the two channels and reconsider the mass media law as it serves the high interest of Lebanon based on the respect of mass freedoms which constitute a main value in Lebanon, and which without them the country loses its spirit, characteristic and meaning of existence as a nation of freedoms, plurality and democracy in the Middle East.
Translated by: Joyce Tary