November 22nd, 2000
In the cadre of its regular observance of media situations, the World Forum of Professionals in the Secular and Religious Media in Lebanon noticed the following:
1. The forum denounces the continuity of attacking personal and public freedoms despite of the promises of the Prime Minister Rafik Al Hariri before the Parliament and the Lebanese people. The forbiddance of the colleague Gibran Tueini from delivering a speech at Zahle and the continuity of chasing a great number of Lebanese youths, shows that certain Lebanese officials ignore that the main function of the State is to protect freedoms not to oppress them or try to annul them. Thus, the Forum and all citizens have the right to ask the President of the Legislative power about this clear contradiction between the statement and the implementation. If the citizen suffers from the same thing that suffers the official from, then who makes the decision in Lebanon? The continuity of these practices, whereas Lebanese people celebrates Independence Day, constitutes a dangerous transgression of the sacred identity of Lebanon and its most important components which made it a center of intellectual irradiance and example of coexistence, forgiveness and respect of human rights in the world.
2. The Forum salutes lots of Lebanese mass medias which abided by incorporating the multiplicity and plurality of different expressions of Lebanese public opinion when transmitting the utility of the continuity of Syrian military presence in Lebanon after the end of what was thought a pretext for it. Therefore, these medias are accomplishing their true role in perpetuating the democratic dialogue in the modern civil society, compensing the negligence of current political institutions which could have, if they accomplished their proper national duty, put an end to the voices increase of religion protectors calling for protecting the Lebano – Syrian relations at the basis of mutual respect and useful integration for the brother countries, in the cadre of complete sovereignty and independence. This provoked an original “Lebanese situation” which surpassed in its syndicalistic, cultural, intellectual, and civil cadre the limit of narrow confessionalism, and national and tribal instincts, to the horizon of wide nation, especially that the Lebanese aspire to establish a nation with the coexistence civilization, which suits the human being. Antelias colloquium held by the intellectual movement nobly expressed the Lebanese situation by presenting objective and scientific studies about multiple concluded conventions between Lebanon and Syria in the last decade, and the rational results regarding the necessity of correcting these conventions for the good of Lebanon.
3. The Forum is satisfied with some freedom and change aspects lately occurring in some Syrian mass medias. Such as the position of the Syrian Al Sawra newspaper, after the statement of the 99th Syrian intellengtias, which noted that “the perspicacious political authority in such transitive period cooperates with enlightened popular, intellectual, and political national classes”, and drew the attention to the necessity of facing questions they were asked about “ in a spirit of objective constructive criticism which admits the difference in understanding and evaluating” in the cadre of a law State not a State of “other authorities and other services which presented theirselves as a substitution of the State for several decades” ( the Revolution newspaper, 11 – 12 – 2000).
The Forum is also satisfied with what national mass medias accomplished concerning the liberation of 600 Syrian and Lebanese retained in Syrian prisons. Saluting this human and national initiative, the Forum feels strange that Lebanese officials continue to ignore the conditions of the Lebanese retained in Syrian prisons, as if that fact does not concern the Lebanese authorities as the declaration of the new Lebanese minister of Justice, Samir Al Jisr, proved, when he assumed that he had no idea about the subject. The Forum wishes that Lebanese officials hold this file and inform the public opinion about its content, for asserting their credibility before the Lebanese and worldwide public opinion, and for preserving the integrity and fundamental rights of their citizens.
4. It is noticed that the Independence Day is special this year for it is occurring few months after the Israeli withdrawal from South of Lebanon, which gives a special savor for the anniversary, and perpetuates the feeling of national belonging. In this occasion, the Forum wishes the complete realization of independence which will be realized when the Israeli army completely withdraws Chebaa territories and the Lebanese army and Lebanese security forces completely recover their own authority on all Lebanese territories, far from any custody or resort to any other force.
5. The Forum, severely condemning the extermination of the Palestinian people and the destruction of the core of the Palestinian State accomplished by the Israeli army, encourages all Lebanese and Arab mass medias to continue in showing the aggressions against human rights and the nation in order to affect Arab and international societies for putting an end to these aggressions and letting this people realizes its desired State far from the settling which harms Lebanon and Palestine.
6. The Forum recalls its members on the date of the regular General Assembly which will be hold on Saturday November 25th, at Saint Elias theatre – Antelias. Its agenda includes the administrative and financial annual report of last year and an action calendar for the current year.
Translated by: Joyce Tary