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Wednesday, June 02, 2004

The printed press holds historic and contemporary influence in the Arab world

"The Printed Press Has Influence Too," Gebran Tueni(bio below), Editor & Publisher, An-Nahar, Lebanon: Even before the proliferation in Arab satellite television, the Arab press, particularly in Lebanon, had an influential role to play thanks to the power of national newspapers, said Mr Tueni at the 11th World Editors Forum in Istanbul. "It is an error to squeeze the history of the Arab press to a boom in TV," he said. "It was well before the birth of Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya and other satellite networks that the power of the written newspaper word had an enormous role in shaping up the course of events, particularly in Lebanon."

The press in Beirut has never been state-owned, state-subsidized or state-run. All newspapers have been financed by the private sector and enjoyed enormous freedom and a high level of professionalism, Tueni said. This has allowed the Beirut press to perform a continuous active role, even
during the Ottoman Empire and the French mandate. It has never stopped struggling for independence, freedom and respect of human rights, he said.

Nowadays, it cannot compete with the satellite stations in the domain of live and immediate coverage, but it is proving its ability to influence the
course of events and provide testimony that the power of the written word is unassailable, Tueni explained. It is doing so largely through analyses, diversity of opinions, transparency and incessant championship of democracy and human rights, he continued. "There can be no democracy without press freedom."

Gebran Tueni has been with the Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar since 1979, when he joined the paper as Editor-in-Chief and an editorialist at its weekly magazine ?An-Nahar Arab and International.? He served as General Manager of the paper from 1993 to 1999 and has been General Manager of An-Nahar?s monthly magazine Noun since 1997. He ascended to his current position in January of 2000.

Tueni is a regular lecturer and guest on television and radio programs, where he speaks about a range of political issues. He has also produced and hosted his own television shows. He has been a WAN board member since 1991 and a member of WAN?s Fund for Press Freedom Development since 1994. He is an advisor in Communication and Information to UNESCO, a member of the National Lebanese Committee for Education, Technology and Culture and a member of the Lebanese Syndicate of the Press. Since 1996, he has been a member of Le Mondial de La Publicit? Francophone. During the Lebanese Civil War, Tueni was General Secretary of the Lebanese Front from 1986-1989.

Tueni was educated in Paris at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Internationales and the Ecole Sup?rieure de Journalisme. He also holds a degree in management from CEDED-INSEAD in Dijon. He lives in Beirut and Paris with his wife and two daughters.

Posted by Dana Goldstein on June 2, 2004 at 04:42 PM in s. 2004 Forum in Istanbul | Permalink

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