Caretaker Information Minister Ziad Al-Makary considered that “Lebanon’s image in terms of media freedom is not dark.”
Partaking in the panel discussion organized by the May Chidiac Foundation, Makary indicated that even though the global ranking of some Arab countries or others may be higher than Lebanon’s in terms of daily-living, economy and development; however, speech in these countries is forbidden…”Can we say that these countries have freedom? Is it possible for anyone in such countries to criticize the ruler?” he questioned, noting that the classification in this case becomes inaccurate due to the lack of freedom.
In this connection, he denied all rumors that “the regime in Lebanon is approaching dictatorship,” saying: “It is a failed theory, and the evidence is that ministers and officials are subjected to daily attack and criticism on social media.”
On the other hand, he indicated that “the situation in Lebanon is linked to the political, security, economic and unstable conditions, as the state’s finances are broken, with no available means or capabilities.”
“We are trying to work according to what the constitution allows us to do in terms of freedom and protection of journalists,” Makary said.
He added: “Journalists always demand that the Publications Court be the side to look into their issues and cases, and to that end, I met with the Public Prosecutor of Cassation and asked him to organize this matter, but I did not receive an answer except from UNESCO expert with whom we work with today, Toby Mendel, as he informed me that there are only five Publications Courts in the world, namely in Yemen, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, and perhaps Sudan, so how can we demand something that almost all countries in the world have eliminated?…”
Makary regretted that whenever any clash occurs between security men and people, unfortunately, it is the journalists who are injured most of the time.
The Minister pointed out that “many European countries, such as Luxembourg, teach their children from an early age to use social media with the aim of sending out positive messages and goals.” He believed that “technology has evolved to such an extent that no one can control it.”
Makary revealed that he would submit the new media law, noting that he has taken into account some of the points previously made by his fellow Ministers Melhem Riachy and Manal Abdel Samad, adding that he had also placed said law on the Information Ministry’s website for a month, allowing all those interested to make their observations, many of which were received and taken into account as well.