Antelias, October 8 th, 2004
The World Forum of Professionals in the Secular and Religious Media in Lebanon supported “Al – Manar” channel criticizing the position of the French government. It criticized as well the position of the Iraqi government concerning “Al – Jazira” channel, considering that those who supported the closing of “MTV” channel in Lebanon have no credibility today when defending “Al – Jazira” channel because “defending freedoms is an integral act”.
The statement of the Forum included the following:
1 – The World Forum of Professionals in the Secular and Religious Media in Lebanon condemned the campaign staged by the French authorities against “Al – Manar” television especially that it contradicts with the ancient French history of freedoms. How a nation who promulgated justice, freedom and human rights values to the world can take a contradicting position with these values.
The “divisions” program does not justify the campaign especially that the heads of “Al – Manar” channel admitted their mistake in showing the program because it includes false facts. How many French channels programs contradicted by their ideological point of view with Arab nations and holy religions, mainly the Christianity, without any eye wink of national French media Council.
Although, if the campaign against “Al – Manar” had another reason, such as the channel political and religious trend which might disturb particular parties in France, these suppressive methods will not succeed in shutting down the channel or decreasing its audience, the result will be completely the opposite. Adopting the dialogue and respecting the other’s values are the only way to resolve these issues in order not to react conversely.
2 – The Forum followed the resolution adopted by the Iraqi government against “Al – Jazira” channel. That resolution reminds what happened to “MTV” channel in Lebanon. The Forum, severely condemning that procedure which contradicts with media freedoms principles, points out that this resolution is more merciful than the resolution adopted by Lebanese authorities against “MTV”, knowing that Iraq is still under war condition, which means that all kinds of mass medias are mainly used as an ideological and political weapon.
The Forum noticed that Lebanese officials who criticize today the resolution of the Iraqi government have supported previously the closing of the Lebanese channel. Defending freedoms is a fundamental act which can not be selective.
3 – The anniversary of August 7 can not go by without reaffirming the condemnation of what happened in that disastrous date which will always be a black day in the history of Lebanon. This day constituted a thrust to the public freedoms and political traditions in Lebanon, country which did not experience such situation before. If Lebanon loses its democratic system and freedoms on which it relies, then it loses the meaning of its existence.
Translated by: Joyce Tary