Caretaker Minister of Information, Melhem Riachy, on Monday held an urgent meeting at his ministerial office to thrash out the simmering media crises, especially those involving dailies and other print media institutions.
Attending the meeting had been Press Syndicate Head, Aouni Al-Kaaki, Editors' Syndicate Head, Elias Aoun, Information Ministry General Director, Dr. Hassan Falah, and other media figures and magnates.
The meeting capitalized on the need to transfer media project laws, previously submitted by Riachy to the Council of Ministers, to the House of Parliament for urgent legislation. Members of the meeting also decided to form a follow-up committee to communicate with the three presidents and find a solution to the print media crisis.
"Newspapers are the strategic reservoir for all audio-visual and digital media," Riachy said in the wake of the meeting. "We read the introductions and editorials of newspapers on all the websites and follow-up on the articles of most of our media colleagues through all the audio-visual media," he added as highlighting the paramount importance of print media.
Riachy went on to sound the alarm on the fact that Lebanon's eight newspapers were in danger of terminating their services.
"Since assuming my post at the Ministry of Information, I submitted several bills; a part in support of the audio-visual media, a part in support of the print media, and a part in support journalists," Riachy said, deeming the Editors' Syndicate draft law the most remarkable of all.
"I succeeded in submitting all these projects, but I failed in getting them to be listed on the Council of Ministers' agenda," Riachy added.
The Minister went on to disclose his agreement with the owners of newspapers to turn the aforementioned submitted projects into law proposals. He said that the House of Parliament could endorse the proposed laws and refer them back to the Council of Ministers as part of the Parliament's urgent legislations at the absence of a cabinet.
"We have set-up a follow-up committee to transform project laws into law proposals within 72 hours. The committee will then follow-up on contacts with the President of the Republic, House Speaker, and Prime Minister-designate to convert all the theoretical work to practical one -- to be signed later by 10 deputies. Afterwards, Speaker Nabih Berri will be asked to summon MPs for an urgent legislative session to help salvage the print media as soon as possible by means of endorsing these bills," Riachy explained.
It is to note that the follow-up committee consists of Information Minister, Melhem Riachy, Ministry of Information General Director, Hassan Falha, Press Syndicate Head, Aouni Kaaki, Editors' Syndicate Head, Elias Aoun, and other media figures.
For his part, Kaaki thanked Minister Riachy for his efforts. "It is the first time that the state has endeavored to find a solution to our problem. The Lebanese people should support us by realizing the importance of the Lebanese press, which is the mirror of Lebanon and its history," Kaaki said.
Source: National News Agency