Friday May 10th, 2001
1. The World Forum of Professionals in the Secular and Religious Media in Lebanon salutes the words of the President of the National Council of Media, Mr. Abd El Hady Mahfouz: “the National Council of Media is nothing but a tableau used by the power to hide behind.” It salutes as well his words in another context: “The State does not engage itself to apply its laws” in the media sector. The Forum considers it an occasion for claiming the officials who praise the media freedoms to activate the role of the National Media Council so it becomes an active institution which guarantees the media freedoms stipulated in the Constitution and the Lebanese laws, and watches over the good organization of the media sector for it be a honest image of Lebanon the pattern.
2. The Forum is concerned about the intellectual and physical terrorist practices against citizens at the South, mainly the series of bombings and threat statements. The Forum also observed what was mentioned in the speech of certain legists regarding the parishioners Of the Armenian church. The Forum considers that such declarations and positions sow the division among the people of one nation, and leave the spirit of peace to turn to religious and cultural rationalism which are tried to be stir up in souls by the Israeli enemy.
3. The Forum sees in the rebroadcast of political programs at the “Television of Lebanon” a weakness in the media vision, private televisions being abound with political programs and the representatives of the State not being absent from these screens. Thus, it was better to focus on high – ranking culture and social programs semi – absent from our channels.
4. The Forum observed the declarations issued on the anniversary of press martyrdoms, and considered that Lebanon forgot dozens of press martyrdoms who died during the war supporting national values, namely: Salim Al Lawzi, Riyad Taha, Edouard Saab… Honoring the press today is by supporting it. The violations of the press which occurred this year, especially what endured “LBC” channel, namely the arbitrary detention of nine of their employees, and the aggressions of certain reporters in other channels call for folding the effort in order to support the freedom of opinion and word in Lebanon, one of the main basises of the democratic regime.
5. The Forum salutes the liberation of the reporter Nizar Niyouf, and considers that this step is added to other positive decisions in Damascus, as the issuance of “Al Doumari” newspaper, and the possibility of issuancing authorizations for other private newspapers, signs which announce a larger media liberality and freedom which are supposed to positively affect the relations between the Lebanese and Syrian societies.
Translated by: Joyce Tary