Journalists’ Pact for Strengthening Civil Peace in Lebanon


UNDP-Lebanon Editors in chief signing journalist' pact at launching ceremony

21 editors-in-chief from various media outlets sat together on March 7th 2013, to discuss the content of the Journalists’ Pact which has been elaborated in direct consultation with them aiming at strengthening civil peace.The official launch of the pact was held on June 25th at Phoenicia Hotel, under the patronage of H.E Minister of Information, Mr. Walid Daouk, and the presence of UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Robert Watkins, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst as well as journalists, reporters and key local media figures.Ibrahim Farhat, director of Public Relations at Al Manar TV station stressed on the importance of what was accomplished saying: “This is a positive step forward towards attaining freedom of speech and lowering the intensity of political and social provocation. Answering a question about what additional incentives this pact provides, he answered: “this is the first step, and it must be respected by all in order to reach better results, and the discussion itself that was held between the different journalists in March is in itself a positive aspect.

Highlights

  • Peace Building project creates “safe spaces” for local identity groups to discuss their concerns openly and enhance mutual understanding of the “other.

”The main challenge he found for applying the guidelines was the general situation in Lebanon: “the journalist has the responsibility to be instantly present at any location to cover an event, which is a challenging task. He should be cautious in dealing with information and aware of the details that are being presented to the public despite the importance of being pioneers in providing a story before any other TV station.”UNDP “Strengthening Civil Peace in Lebanon Project” believes in the vital contribution of the honest word and the objective opinion in developing the society and building national unity and in a spirit of respect to the right of being different and having a different opinion. Equally, given the ever-expanding role of social media in broadcasting news and the rising phenomenon of “citizen journalism”, it has become necessary to draft the guiding principles for the social media in order to strengthen civil peace in Lebanon.Mona Sukkar, Senior Reporter for MTV station commended what was accomplished by saying: “The step that was taken today is very bold; this pact that was signed today can be applied only if each media agency puts the interest of the country and the people before its own.”The UNDP Strengthening Civil Peace in Lebanon project, implemented with financial support from the European Union, addresses the underlying causes of conflict and tensions in Lebanon.

The partnership between UNDP and the EU started in 2011 and aims at strengthening civil peace in Lebanon. The project creates “safe spaces” for local identity groups to discuss their concerns openly and enhance mutual understanding of the “other”. It aims at enhancing social cohesion between civil society (youth, educators, media, and NGOs) and relevant local public actors (municipal council members and mukhtars) at the local, community and national levels.