"Freedom of the Press"
By: Genera Michel Aoun

(Translated by: Elias Bejjani)
2 January 1998

We support freedom of the press without restrictions, conditions or limits. We support an administrative regulatory media law, but reject other laws that restrict its freedom or imposes state censorship or encourages self-censorship. The only boundary for media covergae should be the truth, no matter who is its witness or its victim. Responsibility falls on those who have breached the boundaries of the truth through perversion, forgery and falsification. Although freedom of the press is a must for a truly democratic society, democracy itself is not enough if the media is not free.

Media that is subservient and biased is its own enemy, in conspiracy against itself. In Lebanon, we witness on a daily basis numerous explicit illustrations of subservient media, in paradoxical opposition to its virtuous original role. The media in Lebanon is today deviating from the truth and is committing the worst infringements, including conspicuous lies, vicious judging of intentions, forgery and defamation of facts, insidious presumptions, slander etc. All these negative factors, and many others, raise many frightening questions about the integrity, credibility, professional ethics, and reliability of the Lebanese media in providing effective, constructive and trustworthy services for Lebanon and its people. In general, the most dreadful media crimes in Lebanon are those committed by the pro-regime media. The regime sponsors, protects and finances these media. It guards them against any legal actions, covering up their corruption and all infringements.

Freedoms can flourish only in the shadow of a free democratic regime, and in the milieu of an independent nation. A free regime will not be apprehensive of press freedom; on the contrary, it will safeguard this freedom and respect the right to discover the realities of our society and the right means for treating its problems. Only by so doing can the government guarantee the long-term stability of our society. Only in the shadow of freedom can we safeguard ourselves from the criminals, experience fully the reality of our situation and envision something better.