A press conference was held this Thursday at the Catholic Media Center, upon the invitation of the Episcopal Committee for Media, to announce the message of His Holiness Pope Francis on the World Communications Day, under the title "Do not be afraid -- I am with you" (Isaiah).

Participating in the conference were the Director General of the Ministry of Information, Hassan Falah, representing Information Minister, Melhem Riachy, Head of the Lebanese Press Syndicate, Awni Al-Kaaki, Head of the Editors' Syndicate, Elias Aoun, Archbishop Boulos Matar, Director of the Catholic Media Center, Father Abdu Abou Kasm, Director of the National News Agency, Laure Sleiman Saab, Director of Tele Lumiere Group, Jack Kallasi, and ranking dignitaries.

Falha delivered a speech on the occasion, whereby he said "I am honored to be representing the Minister of Information at this meeting to announce this important message of His Holiness Pope Francis on the occasion of the 51st World Communications Media Day."

"This is a cross-community, cross-religion message that reaches humanity in its entirety, and gets to every person regardless of his affiliation, especially that we live in the era of social media which eliminated all borders and shortened the distances," he said.

"We desperately need such a message at a time when evil overshadows the good, and tragedy prevails over joy."

"I would like to encourage everyone to communicate, by renouncing prejudices towards others and by strengthening the culture of togetherness, through which we learn to look at realities with confidence and discernment," he said.

"It captivated my attention when the Pope said there is a need to break the vicious circle of fear (...) which is the fruit of getting used to negative news (wars, terrorism, scandals and all forms of human failure)," Falha went on, stressing that this principle must be followed in our perception of the media that we aspire to.

"We ought to overcome the feeling of resentment and surrender that often overwhelms us and leaves us in the midst of indifference, thus sowing fear or the impression that it is impossible to put an end to evil. We must drop the logic that says positive news are not as interesting," Falha added.

"The message of His Holiness must be a headline for media around the world in general, and in Lebanon, in particular."

"We, in Lebanon, do have media freedoms but are in dire need for free media, far from suspicious funding, and aloof from sectarian incitement. (...) What we need, at times where our region lives scourge and wars, is for our media to be guided by this message launched by His Holiness Pope Francis to all humanity," he concluded. 

NNA