27 October 2016
The Public Relations Administration at Beirut Arab University organized a seminar entitled “Lebanese Media: Between Safeguarding Freedoms and Self-Censorship”. The event was held on campus in Beirut, and was attended by Prof. Amr Galal El Adawi, President of BAU, Dr. Omar Houri, BAU Secretary General, the deans, and students, as well as MP Ameen Wahbi, representing HE Saad Hariri and MP Ammar Houri.
The event opened with the Lebanese National Anthem and the BAU Anthem, followed by the BAU film. Next, Ms. Zina Ariss, Director of the Public Relations, spoke, explaining that the reasons for organizing the seminar are based on the problem of determining the priorities, be it opening the doors of freedom to any media content, or searching for the mechanisms that would produce news with the least amount of damage.
The speakers of the seminar, moderated by Anchor Warda El Zamel, included anchors Sarkis Naoum, Dolly Ghanem, Georges Salibi, and Najat Sharf Eddine. In their interventions, they spoke of their personal experiences, through the lens of freedoms versus censorship, and in the light of the media competition and the inclusion of social media.
The discussions included various approaches to the different forms of freedoms in the Lebanese media, both at times of peace and war, emphasizing the close relationship between media freedoms and public freedoms, as well as the need to preserve and safeguard these.
As for self-censorship, the participants emphasized the connection with various political practices, highlighting more than one form of self-censorship which preserves the professionalism of a media-person in such a way as to respect the policy of the editorial board they work under, and the presentation of content in harmony with the code of ethics.
Prof. Amr El Adawi made a comment, drawing attention to the fact that credibility is the only term that can bring together the two components of the title: freedoms and censorship. He expressed his hope that the seminar will contribute to the enrichment and development of media in general.
MP Ammar Houri pointed out that the Media and Communications Committee at the Parliament pays great attention to the issue of freedom, and the necessity of preventing the arrest of any media person because they expressed an opinion. He further expressed his hope that these laws and legislations would be enforced.