Decriminalization in Cases of Expression A Seminar in Mass Communication at Beirut Arab University

04 March 2024


The Mass Communication Department - Faculty of Human Sciences at Beirut Arab University, in cooperation with the "Maharat" Foundation,  organized a mass communication seminar entitled "Decriminalizing in Cases of Expression", under the auspices of President of the University, Professor Wael Nabil Abdel Salam, and attended by the Dean of the Faculty of Human Sciences, Professor Siddeeka Lacheen, faculty members and a crowd of students

The seminar started with a speech by Dr. Iman Alaywan, from the Department of Mass Communication, noting that "Since thousands of years ago, people have been struggling to obtain freedom of expression and freedom to overturn social, religious, political and economic issues. These struggles were not without risk, but people faced severe penalties that could lead to murder, as a result of their desire to express their views and rights, until the United Nations issued its resolution 59, which provided for the free circulation of information, but the interpretation of freedom of expression varies greatly between States when applied.

Dr. Ali Mourad also discussed freedom of expression from the legal point of view and explained the mechanisms and laws governing the work of media in Lebanon (such as the Publications Court). He pointed out that when a journalist wishes to reveal illegal work or corruption crimes, in practice he may be known as revealing the corrupt and damaging his reputation while this damage is for the public interest, the journalist's intention is taken into consideration when the publications court considers the case.

The journalist Joyce Nawfal presented the highlights of the new media law discussed by a subcommittee of the Administration and Justice Committee in the parliament, hoping that this law will be signed as soon as possible.

Both journalists Edmond Sassine and Jana Dheibi addressed their experiences on the ground. Sassine pointed out the importance of cancelling imprisonment for both activists on social media and journalists. He also noted the need to shift freedom of expression cases from penal to civil fields.

Dheibi noted Lebanon's low ranking in the Freedom of Information Index, its meanings and connotations. She also sees that it was necessary for the new law to differentiate between the journalist and activist who expressed his opinion, which could protect journalists and preserve their freedom.