Minister of Information Jamal Al-Jarrah explained in an interview with Radio Lebanon today that his refusal, along with his colleague Minister Mohammad Choucair, to respond to the summoning of Financial Attorney General, Judge Ali Ibrahim, is due to its "illegal" nature since "the law does not allow the Prosecutor to hear or summon a minister, for there is a different legal mechanism to hear a minister or deputy which has not been honored."

Additionally, Jarrah pointed to "leaking the news through the media, which is contrary to the law, whereby the Prosecutor is not allowed to appear on media and say that I summoned so-so ministers, which is why we did not and will not respond to the call because it is illegal, especially since there were media leaks, and legal norms were not followed."

He added: "In a previous period, I went to Judge Ali Ibrahim, with whom I have a personal friendship, and I answered to some questions that were ambiguous to him, in a natural way...But this time, in wake of the targeting attempt and maliciousness by the Tele-Communications and Media Committee, we preferred to take this position and opt for an open parliamentary investigating committee with the presence of the media to put an end to the lies, slander and maliciousness before the Lebanese public opinion...So we can tell all the Lebanese, through the media and publicly, who is the real corrupt in this country and claims chastity while accusing others!"

In response to a question, Jarrah said: "Things are managed by Jamil al-Sayyid (deputy) with all malevolence and hatred towards our political team; a matter that will not pass unnoticed and we will have clear positions on this issue, and the way the session is conducted and how it exceeds the law authority limits."

The Information Minister continued to emphasize that "who represents the Ministry is the Tele-Communications Minister, who speaks for the Ministry and attends in its name through the legal mechanisms allowed for the Tele-Communications Committee in its limited powers."

Jarrah stressed that any malevolent side will not be tolerated in the future. "The leniency that was before and led to exploitation by the vindictive and spiteful will be stopped," he assured.

On the issue of media liberties, the Information Minister said: "Freedom of information and expression is preserved in Lebanon and we are keen on safeguarding it. This is part of our thinking, existence and political education at the Rafic Hariri School, which amended the Publications Law and banned the imprisonment of any journalist."

However, Jarrah quoted President Michel Aoun as saying that resorting to offensive language and insults does not constitute freedom of expression. "Whenever anyone insults the President and the Presidential entity, that cannot be perceived as freedom of the media or the press," he corroborated.

"There are parties that use the media to spread devastating rumors to our economy and to the Lebanese currency," Jarrah went on, adding that the media is the first to reject such attempts.

Over the relationship between the Future Movement and the Free Patriotic Movement, Minister Jarrah explained that "the settlement has not shaken and it did save the situation in Lebanon...but we are two large teams in the country and it is only natural that we have our differences on some dossiers. There are different points of view that are resolved through dialogue because the stage is very difficult and we have no luxury of disagreeing and wasting time."

"Things are positive between the two sides," Jarrah reassured.

Source: National News Agency