Antelias, October 24, 2003
The International Catholic Union of the Press considers that the report of "Reporters sans Frotnières" on freedoms of information in Lebanon and the Arab world is worrying as to the role of Lebanon in the information field. The UCIP urges the civil society associations as well as the information sector in general to help Lebanon recover its pioneer position of an information and cultural beacon. The UCIP communiqué includes the following points:
1- The "Reporters sans Frontières" report reveals the fall of freedoms of information in Lebanon. The report indicates that Lebanon is ranking now 106th over 166 countries in terms of freedom of information. The situation of freedoms of information is thus of great concern in Lebanon.
2- The report reveals that Lebanon has lost its pioneer position in the information field within the Arab world; the Kuweit for instance ranks 102nd. Therefore Lebanon has lost its role as an example in the Arab world, the role that it had kept since independence.
3- The report denounces cases of "censorship" and "arbitrary law actions" as well as the attack against the Future TV, thus Lebanon is going down in its ranking. The Lebanese authorities are called to deal with these problems for the sake of the Lebanese information sector and the image of Lebanon abroad.
4- The report indicates the major absence of freedoms of information in the Arab world; many of the Arab countries rank amongst the last positions, close enough to the totalitarian regimes. Although this is a sign of the bad situation witnessed by the Middle East, it can also constitute a kind of incentive for the civil society so that it will struggle to solve this issue in the interest of the people of the region.
5- The decision taken by Jordan to cancel the Ministry of information is a very positive step towards reducing hegemony of the Authorities over the media. It is an initiative that reflects an awareness of the new roles played at the national level in general and the need to avoid restricting them to a simple propaganda for the existing regimes