Wednesday, June 3
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Media condemns transfer of foreign information offices to occupied Jerusalem

Rome - Italian-Arab Friendship Association Secretary, Roberto Tassinari, denounced in an interview with the National New Agency "the transfer of media sources from Beirut, the capital of media freedoms, to occupied Jerusalem."

"We will call upon the concerned parties to reconsider, especially the Italian official institutions," he said.

An wide number of journalists, writers and experts concerned with Lebanese affairs also expressed their surprise to NNA regarding "foreign media moving towards Jerusalem at a time when the foreign press in Lebanon is receiving facilities and carrying out its work with full liberty."

Director of "La Republica" Newspaper's Bureau, Alberto Sabile, [closed its offices in Beirut] expressed his remorse at the decision to close ANSA's official office following the transfer of the Italian Television Network RAI. "I am very sorry that the six international agencies closed their office in Beirut, especially since the relations between Lebanon and Italy are very strong. ANSA has worked for 40 years without a stop and has played a prominent role in urging Italian policy to help Lebanon," he said.

As for the expert on international cooperation, Vinicio Russo, who worked in Lebanon for many years, he hoped that the agency would back down on its decision. "As for state television, some parliamentarians may resort to questioning by the International Relations Committee."

Mayor of Martignano, Luigi Sergio, also felt provoked by the move. "We have more than a thousand soldiers working within the peacekeeping forces in Lebanon and we move to Jerusalem!" he exclaimed.

In turn, John Philips of the Washington Times who worked for many years in Lebanon, also expressed surprise at such a "short-sighted decision". He deemed that Beirut has always been the most important media center in the Middle East at a time when Jerusalem is a limited window and is subject to official monitoring. "Rome's policymakers should be able to rely on the objective news from the National News Agency, which carried out wide coverage in Lebanon," he said.

Luca Steinman, who has operated in Lebanon for years and still does from time to time as he works for the Swiss official television, was surprised that foreign agencies such as ANSA would leave Lebanon. "I work in Lebanon as a correspondent and writer and I think it is wrong to close ANSA in Beirut at a time when Lebanon and the Middle East are in a very sensitive situation," he explained.

"I say without hesitation that the Lebanese arena provides an important material for understanding and analyzing the situation in the Middle East. Lebanon is rich in views and intellectual diversity, and the presence of the Agency in Lebanon alongside European institutions strengthens Europe's role in striving to achieve security and stability in the region," Steinman asserted.

Source: National News Agency