A Democratic Turning Point?


By Ghassan Karam, Special to Ya Libnan

The Lebanese Parliament postponed the vote on the proposed e Transactions law for one month in order to give the public, NGOs and other concerned groups time to make their views known on this issue. Furthermore the law is being refered to the Modern Technology subcommittee headed by Mr, Fatfat where it should have been right from the beginning.

The proposal in its current form is not well thought out neither is it properly written. It creates another level of government bureaucracyand gives the government unchecked powers in seeking any information that it desires in this area of digital communication. The concerns regarding this law were best described by MP mukhaeiber and the Al Akhbar daily as reported by Naharnet:

“MP Ghassan Moukheiber opposed the formation of the authority because he considered it a legal authority with the right to view any document or have unlimited power in controlling online services.

The daily Al-Akhbar reported that it is necessary to approve a law that would organize activity over the internet in Lebanon.

It added however, that if it were approved then the Lebanese will be living in what would feel like a security state that would interfere in the smallest detail of their personal lives.

The daily said that despite efforts to make the law comply with reforms needed in electronic banking, the real “catastrophe” in it becomes clear from Article 69 onwards.”

The above development could signal an important change in the conduct of the Lebanese elected officials. Arguably this is one of the few times, may be the only time, where elected officials have responded to the peaceful concerns expressed by their constituents. We all do hope that this will serve as a model of what a real participatory democracy is all about.

Congratulations are in order for each and every person who did not accept the scheduled vote as a fait accompli but exercised his/her inherent right to be heard in a peaceful and dignified way. Maybe, just maybe we are witnessing a major turning point in the conduct of Lebanese politics. May miracles never end.