Caretaker Minister of Information, Manal Abdel Samad, pointed out, in an interview with Tele Liban, that “the ministry launched a platform in which it unified all the information related to the Coronavirus pandemic, and also created a web page affiliated with the National News Agency, devoted to the same subject, with the aim of preventing false news and limiting their spread.”
On amending the media law, Abdel Samad pointed out that the proposed amendment back in 2010 was not sufficient, given the rapid development in the media field. Therefore, further amendments were introduced, and “those are essential as they add new concepts that will become a guarantee for media professionals, and will render the law modern and capable of meeting their needs.”
“The law is in its final stages and will see the light in the coming weeks,” she affirmed.
Touching on the right for access to information, Abdel Samad said that “the Ministry of Information has played its role and conducted training courses for its staff, in coordination with the Ministry of State for Administrative Development Affairs and the UNDP.”
“We continue to work with them to ensure the application of this,” she stressed.
The Information Minister considered that “the ministry is not only a spokesperson for the government, and so it worked to change this mentality by way of communicating with the public and conveying their opinion and the opinion of the community and the concerned authorities.”
Paying homage to the martyrs of the press on their day, Abdel Samad said: “We salute our martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for freedom of speech and freedom of expression. (…) One day is not enough to express our appreciation to those who sacrificed themselves for a national cause or a free word.”
Asked about the contradiction between media freedom and professional ethics, Abdel Samad said: “We must always start with the law that regulates any sector, and therefore, if the law stipulates provisions that protect the rights of media professionals, we will have reached a kind of idealism in freedom of expression and also protected the rights of media professionals, and the law itself.”
The minister did not fail to mention that some private media outlets were writhing under massive economic burdens which affect their independence and objectivity. “The media indicators are interlinked with economic, political, social and even health indicators,” she explained.
She also pointed out that “the independence of the judiciary plays a major role and prevents the deterioration of any country in terms of freedom, including Lebanon.
“Freedom of the press is sacred. We cannot control the media, but rather we must control our reality to meet the needs of society,” Abdel Samad affirmed.