Antelias, February 19, 2008
Media Observatory Center of the Catholic International Union of the Press in Lebanon (UCIPLIBAN) supported the Orientation Directorate at the Lebanese Army call to media channels to stop coverage of security incidents.
The Union also criticized the Arab Ministers of Information decision or memorandum regarding cable transmission, and considered it as reinforcing hegemony rather than bolstering freedom of press and democracy.
1- The Union media center supports the Lebanese Army Orientation Directorate call for observatory media channels to stop covering what would cause chaos to Lebanese. This call does not imply the holding of anyone's tongue on news and facts, but handling them with full responsibility and rationality. Live coverage does not mean the truth as some people consider, but gives a partial and exaggerated picture which represents a disconnected view of the country's general condition. The center also called for the stoppage of " Live Coverage " of roving terrorist operations in the country which are of no value to the viewer, but serve the plans of conspirators and executors that aim at spreading terror, demoting the wills, spreading " Death Culture " and despising life and institutions.
2- The media center also studied the decisions of Arab Ministers of Information regarding the " Cable Transmission ", issued following their meeting on February 13 th 2008. Consequently, the center highlights the following points:
a. The memorandum final draft contained decisions related to media ethics laws, and to ruling social traditions and values in each country. Therefore, a need for distinction within these decisions must be considered and not cause contradiction with each country's social privacy.
b. Many basic values were not stated in these decisions such are freedom and democracy which are the foundations of media mission and role. What are media channels worth if they do not hold these values. These decisions would retard Arab media instead of escalating it.c. Ambiguity and confusion overrated the memorandum with respect to political affairs which lead to various interpretations. What does the expression " the absence of negative effects on social security and national integrity " mean? Is the unveiling of a governmental scandal an example and should not be reported? Should media channels stay silent on Arab regimes great expenditures on military armament and intelligence while illiteracy rate exceeds 50% of their citizens, and those under the poverty line are the highest in the world.
d. The threatening logic implied in the memorandum of confiscating equipment and tools of violating stations is no more possible and accepted in the open- space age. Current Arab governments cannot retard the technological progress anymore. Therefore, raised or suggested solutions are no more useful in current conditions.
e. The Union center hopes an ethical and defiled charter for Arab journalists world be established and applied on all audio, visual and written media channels. This charter would form a document or a working paper to Arab media personalities, but leave legal matters of each country aside, according to its political system and various social norms.
f. On this occasion, the Union reiterates its call to all Arab governments to emulate the democratic states that had abolished the ministries of information and transferred their budgets to sciences, culture and education ministries. This would liberate these ministries from politics and link their cultural and media activities with nongovernmental independent organization and stop exploitation and hegemony. The duty of media in the formation of consciences and souls is glorious and sacred, and should not be only confined to politicians.
Translated by: Dr. Saad Atallah