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French Version

Conference focuses on women's role in media

Participants in the "Media, Women and the Mediterranean" conference gathered at the Phoenicia InterContinental Hotel on Monday to discuss the role of and challenges to women in various media sectors across the region.

The two-day conference hosted newspaper, radio, and television journalists from countries that border the Mediterranean and was attended by foreign officials, diplomats and Lebanese officials.

The event was organized by Italy's ministries of foreign affairs and equal opportunity, as well as the Arab-Italian Women's Association (AIWA) and ANSAmed, an Italian news agency.

Among the Lebanese notables in attendance were Information Minister Ghazi Aridi, MPs Ghinwa Jalloul and Gilbert Zouein, and former first lady Mona Hrawi.

Roberto Cantone, charge d'affaires at the Italian Embassy, said the conference focused "on promoting dialogue and mutual understanding." He said the ministries chose Beirut as host because it represents "the Mediterranean soul ... and the universal values that embody the aspiration of democracy, freedom and respect of the inalienable rights associated to them."

"I think that May Chidiac represents the symbol of sacrifice and freedom of information," Cantone said.

Chidiac, a prominent Lebanese anchorwoman, was severely wounded when a bomb exploded in her car on September 25, 2005, eventually losing her left arm and foot.

Aridi said during the opening session that Lebanese women had a significant role in the media and other industries.

"I look forward to the day when women reach high positions as presidents, speakers and MPs," he added.

Zouein called for efforts to the "improve the status of women in the southern region of the Mediterranean" until such time as they enjoy the "same rights as men."

Beirut,05 29 2006
Leila Hatoum
The Daily Star
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