Memorandum of Understanding signed between the United Nations Development Programme and “As-Safir” and “Annahar” newspapers
The UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Ross Mountain, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with both “Annahar” and “As-S.afir” newspapers represented by “Annahar” Editor-in-Chief, Mr Ghassan Hajjar, and “As-Safir” Managing Editor, Mrs Hanady Salman.
The MoU aims at providing a framework of cooperation and facilitating collaboration between the parties in printing and distributing the Joint news supplement under the UNDP “Peace Building in Lebanon” project. Funded by the Japan, the joint news supplement tackles the repercussions of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon. This cooperation will shed light on topics that will be discussed in the supplement related to peace building and social cohesion
This memorandum was signed in the presence of the Japanese Ambassador, Mr. Seiichi Otsuka, First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy, Mr.Masami Ishii, along with As-Safir Managing Director, Mr. Ahmad Salman.
Mr. Ross Mountain thanked “As-Safir” and “Annahar” for their support to the Japan-funded supplement and highlighted their role in distributing it all over Lebanon. “Lebanon now has more than one million refugees- equivalent to 80 million for the United States- more refugees per capita than any other country in the world. The bulk of the Syrian refugees are in the parts of the country where the majority of Lebanese are poor”, he said, adding that : “at this juncture, initiatives like this joint news supplement are needed to diffuse tensions between Syrians and Lebanese.”
Japanese Ambassador explained the importance of cooperation with the media, with “As-Safir” and “Annahar” newspapers in creating a public opinion. “The word is mightier than the sword” he said, stressing on the importance of such initiatives in spreading a culture of peace and tolerance.
Mrs Hanady Salman explained that the partnership with the UNDP is based on the Human value of “Accepting the other” which was reflected in previous joint supplement since 2012.
Mr. Hajjar said that Annahar newspaper encourages peace building efforts, because the media is responsible for avoiding tensions and conflicts in a non-violent and peace building approach. He hoped that “this cooperation will be a long lasting one because we believe in the message that the project is spreading”.
The UNDP “Peace Building in Lebanon” project aims since 2007 at enhancing mutual understanding and social cohesion in a participatory approach with youth, educators, media, NGOs, municipal council members and mukhtars and local leaders.
In response to the repercussions of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon and in order to alleviate the growing tensions in the country, the project works on enhancing the capacities of different society groups from local leaders to educators, media and civil society, on crisis management, peace building and conflict resolution.
In this context, and under the Media output, the project has issued since 2012 four joint news supplements engaging journalists from various media outlets.
The first supplement issued in December 2012 tackled the "connectors" and "dividers" in the country.
The second supplement, which was issued in March 2013, focused on national civil campaigns, knowing the important role of the Lebanese civil society on both local and national levels
As for the third supplement, issued in May 2013, it tackled the social, economic, cultural, and educational repercussions of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon, and highlighted the initiatives undertaken by the Lebanese to help Syrian refugees, as well as the social and cultural "contributions" brought by the refugees.