Riachy says disagreement with Bassil over means of approaching strategic issues

Minister of Information, Melhem Riachy, said on Wednesday that Minister, Gebran Bassil, was not the one hindering his work.

"Fact is, the deep state hates the media," Riachy said in an interview with the Voice of Lebanon radio station.

"Some think that the development of media work and its liberation from political hegemony leads to its liberation, and hence, set journalists free from political affiliations," the Minister explained.

However, Riachy added that there was a problem with Minister Bassil vis-a-vis Tele Liban and the National News Agency's dossiers.

"My disagreement with Bassil is over his approach in handling fundamental and strategic issues, most notably those concerning Meerab agreement," Riachy maintained, explaining that if it hadn't been for the existing agreement between the Lebanese Forces and the Free Patriotic Movement, "the country wouldn't only be void of a President, but the country wouldn't exist to start with."

Listing the many projects that he had worked on since assuming his post at the Ministry of Information, Riachy said that Ministry of Information had been subjected to a "comprehensive makeover" and a "comprehensive legal revolution".

"Back in February 2017, all the appropriate laws to develop the structure of the Ministry of Information had been drafted within a stint of 5 months."

Riachy also shared his attempts to turn some of the projects into law proposals to be forwarded to the House of Parliament for legislation.

"Yesterday, I asked of Speaker Berri to submit an accelerated bill whilst in search for a solution to this fundamental issue," he added.

Despite existing issues with Minister Bassil over the National News Agency and Tele Liban, Riachy made clear that "the main issue was that involving the Editor's Syndicate, through which the media corps could get its full rights."

In response to a question about the danger threatening the Christians of the East, particularly in Lebanon, the Minister said that the issue did not only concern Christians.

"We, the young people, have not fought and consented to martyrdom for Christian presence, but rather for free existence in Lebanon," Riachy added. "Martyrs were predominantly Christians since the majority of those who have been oppressed in history and have fled in Lebanon were Christians, who defended the free presence of Christians and Muslims," he explained.

"This free presence has its own symbol, which is embodied in life together between Muslims and Christians," he added.

Regarding the formation of the new government, the minister said that there was still no news. "Yesterday, I met Prime Minister Hariri, who said that he had a new project to discuss with the President upon his return from abroad to finalize the formation process," he concluded.

Source: National News Agency