I am not sure what source of information Mr. Fisk relied on to issue his rather ridiculous statement- “Law 174 is actually being obeyed in Lebanon”. Your source Mr. Fisk is either a prisoner in his own home, or is on a constant high (excuse my french). I was quite stunned when I visited Beirut for Christmas break 2 months back, as I observed what restaurants/pubs/clubs were making of the 174 law (pertaining to smoking bans indoors). Below are two scenarios I’ve personally witnessed:
– Le Mall Dbayyeh: While no one was smoking inside the shops, two ladies were actually smoking in the ladies-room, and then the cleaner in charge made a theatrical appearance, also a cigarette in hand, earning herself two bows of respect.
– Le Mandaloun: The evening of December 23rd was apparently declared a “public” holiday by Le Mandaloun Management. As we made our way to our table that evening, clouds of smoke were happily filling up the place, and as I curiously approached one of the overjoyed waiters and asked the forbidden question, he gave me an “Are you kidding me?!” look and quickly followed that up with: “Madame, please, we allow smoking during public holidays!” I had to apologize for my ignorance before heading back to my seat.
Whether we are abiding by the smoking ban Law or not is not the issue here. What I don’t appreciate about Mr.Fisk’s article is the fact that he:
– either wrote it with no reliable source of information whatsoever and without double checking his facts;
or (one can’t help but question his shrewdness)
– wrote it knowing this information was not credible, but published it regardless for personal or professional purposes.
As a modest Lebanese reader living abroad, transparency and credibility of the news I read about my country, whether good or bad, are of immense importance to me. Transparency and credibility make good journalists Mr. Fisk, and today you aren’t one.