|Bonnie Chiu from Hong Kong|
The scholar from Lebanon, Mirna Abou Zeid, told the audience that administrative power is divided between three main sects in her country, which influences the media system and ownership. The president is always a Christian Maronite, the Prime Minister is always a Sunni Muslim and the speaker of the Parliament is a Shia Muslim, she said. While enlightening on the media in Lebanon, Mirna explained that there is a limit of 25 on newspaper licenses, out of which 11 licenses have to be given to Arabic newspapers. Political parties are not allowed to own media but it is still covertly controlled by the politicians. Newspapers engage in self-censorship, however, there is no distinction between facts and opinions.
Talking about the influence of Russia on the media in her country, Kyrgyzstani scholar, Nargiza Ryskulova, said that there are innumerable Russian channels which have helped form a pro-Russian opinion. Kyrgyzstan press is not free and is divided into two major languages: Russian and Kyrgyz. The media are in a transitional state in the country and Nargiza hopes that with new technology, it will soon move towards being liberal.