Caretaker Information Minister, Dr. Manal Abdel Samad Najd, stressed, in an interview with Al-Jadid TV, that “everyone must play their role.”
“As a Minister of Information, I managed between the media and the government, and my primary role was to organize, solve the problems of media institutions and convey their cry and suffering to the government to find solutions…more than being of a monitoring nature, for the goal is not to close these institutions, which denote the fourth authority, but rather to revitalize and develop them to be able to cover events,” Abdel Samad said.
“I believe that self-censorship is the basis, as it begins with the media person and the institution to which he belongs. The circumstances are very difficult, especially since there are many provisions in the media law that are not applied…It is old and needs to be modified, and this is what we proposed,” she added.
Abdel Samad underlined that “freedom of the media, expression and opinion” is enshrined in Article 13 of the Lebanese Constitution, and it is not limited to media professionals, but rather includes every citizen; and therefore, it is a “red line” and not subject for discussion. “In light of global openness and advanced technology, no one’s voice can be hidden…The media is a mirror of reality, and the reality is very bad, and it is necessary to work on improving the conditions of political and economic dossiers before we look at improving the status of media censorship,” she corroborated.
The Caretaker Information Minister referred to her exerted efforts to organize the media sector, pointing to the main goal within the first reformative steps, namely to propose a media law that regulates the sector and improves legal provisions in a way that protects the media professional in terms of being guarded against any assault, and being prosecuted in a civil rather than criminal manner in the event of a specific situation of harm.
Abdel Samad also referred to her proposed law to exempt media institutions from accumulated fees and taxes that impede their continuity; however, the short life spam of the government stood in the way of advancement projects that require agreements, draft laws and decrees.
Meanwhile, she called for stressing on our beliefs to build a democratic state based on respecting opinions and mutual dialogue.
In response to a question, Abdel Samad pointed to the country’s worsening situation, expressing solidarity with citizens’ demands and stressing that her role as a minister in the caretaker government is to portray to the cabinet the reality of the street and relay the people’s cry, as well as to propose solutions and remedies. She added that when her mandate is over, she will be on the other revolutionary side calling for demands.
Over the COVID-19 administered vaccines, Abdel Samad affirmed the need to take the vaccine and her commitment to the mechanism adopted in terms of the vaccine plan. Asked about the date that media personnel can receive the vaccine, she revealed that the decision is up to the follow-up committee on the preventive measures and procedures for the Coronavirus, adding that in case the number of vaccines is not sufficient, media front liners can be given priority in this respect.