Beirut, October 6th, 2000
In the cadre of the following of the last events, the World Forum of Professionals in the Secular and Religious Media in Lebanon discussed a series of imminent media questions and gave the following remarks:
1. Concerning the “media cooperation program” between Lebanon and Syria signed last week by both Lebanese and Syrian ministers of Information, the Forum welcomes any cooperation of this kind hoping that it will have common benefit for both parties, where Syrian media benefits from the noble Lebanese media experience regarding the freedom of opinion and expression, the plurality of culture, democracy, and intellectual and political opening. However, The Forum is concerned that the univalent experience of Syrian media reflects on the Lebanese media under these current conditions.
2. Stemming from the sticking of the Forum to the freedom of expression, it draws the attention on the speech of the Patriarch Aghnatios IV Hazim for supporting this freedom for it represents a concession of coexistence in Lebanon and a necessary condition for guarantying the existence of different communities in it. In the same regard, the Forum discusses a series of editorials and media articles which respond on the Syrian minister of Information, Adnan Omran, for the courage and directing of historical events. The forum salutes as well the “statement of the 99 Syrian intellengtias” and considers it a sign which promisses a dawn of freedom and an opening on democratic values in the brother country.
3. The Forum is concerned about the situation of some media institutions in Lebanon which follow financial power or political influence. This action makes them a tool in the service of private interests not in the service of public good and threatens their right media role in a period of absence of media freedom, and prevents them from accomplishing their fundamental mission. What happened lately at the “Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation” is nothing but a clear proof of this threat.
4. The Forum denounces the attack of certain publicists during the accidents in the Palestinian territories at the hands of Israeli soldiers who forbidden them to transmit the true image of the endurance of the Palestinian people. In this regard, the Forum salutes the role of Arab and worldwide mass medias in transmitting the realities despite the sacrifices and difficulties affronted by publicists in serving peace and dialogue between peoples.
Translated by: Joyce Tary