The International Lions Clubs Association (District 351: Lebanon – Jordan – Palestine) honored journalists from various media outlets, in a celebration held last Thursday at the “Lions’ House of Giving – Melvin Jones Hall – Sin El Fil”, under the patronage of caretaker Minister of Information, Dr. Manal Abdel Samad Najd.
In her word on the occasion, Abdel Samad praised the “initiative of honoring media figures who demonstrate high levels of professionalism, objectivity, impartiality and positivity in dealing with crises despite the difficult circumstances we live in,” hoping that Lebanon will rise and that the state will succeed in honoring the many more Lebanese distinguished talents and capabilities.
“We are in a dire and critical situation, but we can get out of it in the presence of remarkable media professionals, and we must work hand in hand, whether with media institutions, media professionals or civil society, in order to improve Lebanon’s image in terms of freedom of opinion and expression,” she asserted.
Abdel Samad referred to the Information Ministry’s success in introducing “fundamental amendments to the media law”, noting that “after 11 years, we finalized the draft media law, thanks to the Administration and Justice Parliamentary Committee, and before it to the Media and Communications Parliamentary Committee, which helped in presenting the media law in its final form to the Parliament Council’s General Assembly.” She commended herein the role of played by MP Ghassan Mokheiber, “Maharat Foundation” and all media professionals.
“We also held, in the Ministry of Information, consultative dialogue meetings related to the media law, so we thank the media institutions, media professionals, civil society, specialists and unions that helped in drawing up the final notes and recommendations for said law,” she added.
“This law proposal was based on three basic principles, whereby we emphasized in the first principle that the law should be comprehensive and unified, for it is not possible to separate electronic media from other types of media, because the sector is a media sector, regardless of the different visual, audio, written and digital mediums. In the second principle, we emphasized respect for international conventions, including freedom of opinion and expression, so we must all work to improve the image of freedom of opinion and expression. Likewise, we based importance on responsible freedom. We agreed in Parliament on the need for freedom to be responsible, and we ask for this freedom at a time when we are witnessing social, political and economic fragmentation and chaos. Unfortunately, the political crisis is what caused the economic issues and the deteriorating situation, so we need a free, responsible and positive word that can shed light on solutions to these problems,” Abdel Samad underlined.
She stressed that “the solution is not in the hands of those in power, but rather those outside it,” adding that “the country is collapsing before us, sector by sector, so we cry out to all the people concerned with the solution to act today, for each day of delay costs us a year of ruin and destruction which would be difficult to overcome.”
Abdel Samad thanked the Lions Clubs for their valuable initiative and congratulated the honorees, hoping that this country will remain a beacon of free media, vigor and liveliness.
It is to note that the ceremony included a briefing on the status of the Lebanese media between past and present, followed by the presentation of awards to the honored journalists.
The ceremony also shed light on the media coverage of the Lions Club Association 351 this year, particularly its “Return to Residence” campaign launched by the Association after the August 4th blast, with the aim of restoring a large number of damaged buildings in the area of Beirut and its suburbs.
At the end, Abdel Samad was presented with an honorary shield in appreciation of her relentless efforts and generous contributions while serving in her position as Information Minister.
Source: National News Agency