Brussels, July 24 2006 (Signis) - SIGNIS, the World Catholic Association for Communication, today supported the call by UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, for an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon.

Expressing solidarity with its members in that war-torn country, SIGNIS President, Augustine Loorthusamy called upon the news media to ensure that their reporting contributed to building a culture of peace in the region by giving a true, fair and balanced sense of the complexity of the situation.

The full statement follows:

“SIGNIS urges all governments to heed the call of the UN Secretary-General for an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon and the wider appeals by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI for an end to the widespread suffering of innocent civilians in Lebanon and across the Middle East.

We also express our heartfelt solidarity and support for our members in Lebanon, remembering vividly the Mass for a Culture of Peace celebrated by Bishop Roland Abou Jaoudé at our World Congress in Lyon, 2005 and we pray for all those communicators who are struggling to bring messages of hope and peace in this time of war and destruction.

We call upon all the news media to contribute towards building a culture of peace in the Middle East by presenting a fair and balanced picture of the situation in Lebanon and elsewhere in all its complexity.

As a World Association of Catholic professionals in communications we, in turn, re-commit ourselves as a to follow the principles set out in the SIGNIS Declaration of Lyon, in November 2005, so that we continue to ensure that in Lebanon and across the Middle East the “voices of the voiceless” are heard and the “faces of the faceless” are seen in the media.”

Augustine Loorthusamy,
_ President