Falha sounds alarm on ‘international’ print media crisis

Information Ministry General Director, Dr. Hassan Falah, on Thursday said in an interview aired on the local Lebanese news channel "MTV" that the alarming status of the print media was not only Lebanese, but also international.

"It is a global crisis that the world's most renowned newspapers have been enduring," Falha said.

Moreover, he went on to regret the regressing culture of knowledge acquisition in people. "The technological evolution has changed the people's perception of reading. This is not to mention the advertising market, which has shrunk in Lebanon, even at the level of the media in general," Falha said of the repercussions of the print crisis.

However, he went on to explain that the crisis did not only affect the print media. "It has been affecting the audiovisual media as well," he said, suggesting that a solution to this crisis did not solely depend on one ministry, neither on the government nor on parliament.

"The solution should be the outcome of a participatory act in which all sides take part in," Falha maintained.

"We have reached the situation we suffer today due to the absence of preemptive steps -- the technological revolution has simply eliminated all our legislations; a rapid technological evolution is being witnessed whilst stalemate takes over legislations," Falha added.

"Since the formation of the government, Caretaker Minister of Information, Melhem Riachy, has held a series of meetings. I have been assigned to head a committee, which came out with several ideas, in cooperation with the owners of newspapers and media outlets. We drafted some laws that have been sent to the cabinet, but we are working on turning them into law proposals," the Ministry of Information's General Director explained.

"Lebanon enjoys media freedom, but we need free media. The basic condition to get free media is a financial independence," Falha said.

He went on to point out that social media sites were not licensed by the state.

"They have imposed their presence with the strength of the technological evolution, which cannot be curbed," he added.

"The state, with all its institutions and unions, should resort to decisive action through workshops that come out with effective results, in order to preserve this profession," Falha concluded.

He finally hoped that the press and editors' syndicates would prove to be "more sophisticated and comprehensive in a bid to ensure media stability."

Source: National News Agency