Antelias, September 27th, 2000
The World Forum of Professionals in the Secular and Religious Media – Lebanon followed the echoes provoked by the statement of the Assembly of Maronite Patriarchs last week. It noticed the following:
1. The intensity of reactions on the “frankness statement” expressed the importance of what was said in this statement before all Lebanese communities. It constituted a historical point in the Lebanese national life regarding the positive shock it caused, as a push for the real and sincere dialogue. It constituted an example of the media speech based on the values of truth, discovery and courage in the free expression of the opinion, and the attachment of mutual trust which is more powerful that any weapon.
2. Most of the negative echoes on the “frankness statement” asserted the continuity of intellectual and political “media taboos” in the Lebanese society. The statement came to break these taboos, presenting in this regard a pattern in the behaviorism which shall be imitated for treating the public affair, and which is based on courage, freedom of expression and revealment of truths, which provoked in the public opinion a new refreshment feeling of freedom of expression paving the way to any constructive dialogue.
3. A careful reading of the statement of the Maronite Episcopal and the Syrian Presidency allows us to deduce common principles of this dialogue.
As the President Bachar Al Assad says, this needs “courage argumentative debate in which we discuss frankly our weak points and some habitudes, traditions and concepts”. This word meets with the word said in the statement of the Maronite Patriarchs: “and they (Lebanese) see that it is time for the revealment in a climate of sincerity, frankness, true brotherhood, and mutual respect”.
4. Inspiring these common points and stemming from the covenants principles of the World Forum of Professionals in the Secular and Religious Media inviting to consolidate media values (freedom of expression, truth, perpetuation of justice, love and peace), we invite to act in order to present hope and expectation motives for our coming generations, whereas the region is waiting for a possible visit of His Holiness Pope to Damascus, and is at the threshold of a third millennium carrying new meanings for relations between nations and peoples, how could it be then between two brother countries, invited to establish an Arab civilization which would be a pattern of plurality and coexistence for the coming world.
Translated by: Joyce Tary