Jreige: Media controlled by political powers

November 27, 2015 (REFERRING TO THE NATIONAL NEWS AGENCY – LEBANON) Minister of Information Ramzi Jreige told his visitors at the ministry on Friday that according to the Constitution, current Cabinet cannot resign, as the resignation required the signature of approval of the president. He added that also according to the Constitution the Cabinet assumes the responsibilities of the president pending the election of a new head of state.

Graduate students in Saint Joseph University’s political sciences visited Jreige and presented him with a comparative study between local media coverage and that of the French media.

“TV stations are controlled by political powers, and each one has its independent opinion and works according to a variety of political agendas,” explained Jreige.

He also noted that his ministry has little effect on said stations, which were governed by Lebanese laws of freedom of expression. The National Media Council has a “consultative” role.

“The law forbids any attempts at inciting sectarian strife and the use of slander,” explained Jreige, adding that the Council could penalize a TV station by putting it off the air for up to three days. However, the Cabinet could refer the violating station to specialized judiciary. At this point, political powers within the Cabinet could intervene and render any decision against the violator null.

Jreige recalled that twice he called upon certain media outlets to remind them of following the code of honor and professional ethics in their coverage of sensitive matters, such as the case of abducted servicemen and the popular movement.

“We are in the process of issuing a comprehensive project law that governs freedom of media and organizes electronic websites.”

The Minister concluded by stating that Lebanese media was passing through numerous crises, hoping that all media outlets respect their freedom under the ceiling of the law and the demands of the higher national interest.