Lebanese Minister of Information, Melhem Riachy, signed today a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Information Centre in Beirut (UNIC Beirut), represented by its Director Margo Helou. The MoU outlines a framework for a one-year media partnership aimed at promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Lebanon. The signing ceremony was attended by representatives of United Nations agencies operating in Lebanon and media representatives.
Minister Riachy thanked UNIC Beirut and commended its active role in the media field. He said that the MoU will help Lebanon be present in the international media and this will contribute to highlighting the country’s challenges and opportunities and help in addressing them in one way or another. “The importance of this MoU,” he added, “is that the initiatives of the Ministry of Information will be highlighted on UN platforms and vice versa, especially as we are in the process of preparing a new structure for the Ministry of Information that will soon see the light. The Ministry will become a ministry of information, dialogue and communication.” Riachy continued to say that while it is true that official media is not as strong as it should be, “we seek to strengthen it”, adding that “official media channels are not the property of government officials, but belong to all the people, to serve common issues among Lebanon and all nations, and I place these media outlets in service of this MoU, which we sign for Lebanon.”
For her part, Helou commended the efforts of the Ministry and Minister Riachy in raising the level of media services in Lebanon, and with it the level of awareness and national commitment to human rights, including freedom of the press and communication. “This agreement might be new in content, but the partnership is old and long-standing, for the ministry has always supported the work of the United Nations, especially in the media field,” she said. Helou stressed that UNIC Beirut also stands ready to provide the Ministry with the support it needs in developing the media sector in Lebanon in order to serve the common priorities of the international organization and Ministry. Helou then presented the main points of the MoU.
On the sidelines of the signing ceremony, Helou announced the launch of "UN Listens” Campaign (www.unlistens.org), which aims to engage citizens in sharing their ideas on how they can make their communities better. She added that this platform will offer an open space for people with constructive ideas, suggestions and projects whether big or small to discuss them with UN officials.
Through this MoU, the two parties can exchange information, build partnerships, network, and cooperate on the implementation of joint projects, studies, activities and initiatives. Consequently, and with the consent of the Ministry, the Centre has the right to benefit from the services of media and information entities of the Lebanese Ministry of Information, namely Tele Liban, Radio Liban, National News Agency, and Directorate of Studies and Publications.
The MoU also aims at raising awareness on the SDGs in Lebanon, the challenges and capabilities for their implementation and shedding light on the joint efforts of the United Nations System in Lebanon in this regard. It will support the Ministry's initiatives for the implementation of the SDGs and building the capacity of stakeholders to raise awareness about them, including Lebanese journalists, media professionals, social researchers, etc.