November 10th, 2000
The World Forum of Professionals in the Secular and Religious Media condemned the intellectual terrorist behavior which the minister Walid Joumblat was subject to, and which incurred before him every one who dared to claim for correcting the Lebano – Syrian relations. Whereas it saluted the commitment of the President Rafik al Hariri to prevent different freedoms, hoping that promises do not remain words.
The Forum Bureau held its regular meeting today and issued the following statement:
1. The World forum of Professionals in the Secular and Religious Media in Lebanon condemns the campaign against the minister Walid Joumblat inside and outside the Parliament. It constitutes a kind of intellectual oppression against Lebanese leaders and against large parts of the Lebanese people in order to shut up the voices of the persons claiming for perpetuating the role of Lebanese army and correcting Lebano – Syrian relations. This intellectual and political oppressive behavior clearly contradicts with the Lebanese Constitution, and does not suit the Lebanese interest not the interest of any other part. It also asked questions about practices of certain officials in both countries regarding public freedoms.
2. The tradition of arbitrary accusing every official, organism, or citizen calling for equivalent and good relations with Syria, of enemy agent, became an insignificant pretext, and asserted the permanent threat to the sovereignty and independence of Lebanon, and to its most important components and causes of its existence, mainly the freedom of opinion, belief, speech and democratic action. The Forum which principles are based on defending all aspects of freedoms in the light of just rules and moral behavior based on the respect of others, their right to live, express and assemble, hopes that ideas and true national positions lately made clear by Walid Joumblat and an increasing number of ministers and spiritual, political, syndicalistic, judicial, intellectual and cultural figures in Lebanon and Syria, become similar to a snowball which picks impurities for an addition of self – confidence, recovery and power for facing common challenges in all sectors.
3. The Forum observed the positions of the Prime Minister Rafik Al Hariri regarding his commitment to protect media freedoms, put an end to arbitrary detentions, and face wiretapping operations which constitute an aggression against the simplest personal freedoms. The Forum considered that the declarations of Hariri are as a confession from the power about the existence of clear aggressions in these domains. Saluting these positions, the Forum wished that the government could apply its commitments, not to stay only promises and speeches. The Forum hoped as well that the government defends more freedoms of media by presenting material aids for mass medias which most of them suffer from financial difficulties in these current conditions. The guarantee of media institutions surely accompany the guarantee of their financial independence, this is in fact what most of advanced States do.
4. The Forum studied the way of perpetuating “the media observer” established last month. It decided to visit the directors of mass medias in order to inform them of the observer goals and perpetuate the cooperation with them. It discussed as well the renovation of adherence of members, institutions and Forum eight branches: publicists, scholars, daily press, journals, ecclesiastic press, editing houses, press agencies and photographers.
The Forum will hold its regular General Assembly on November 28th, at Saint Elias Antelias theatre, in the presence of its president Pr. Toni Khadra and officers of the Forum in order to evaluate its action of last year and set up an action plan for the year 2000/2001.
Translated by: Joyce Tary