Outgoing dispatches from Lebanon monitored in Cyprus yesterday made it clear that only reports from the Lebanese Christians and the Syrians would be allowed under Lebanon's new press censorship rules.
Censorship began Monday of all publications inside Lebanon, which had the Arab world's last free press until this week. Censorship of dispatches by foreign reporters began Wednesday.
Agencies sending news out of Beirut were ordered to install within 15 days at their own expense teleprinters in the censorship office so that both outgoing and incoming news could be checked by the censors.
The censorship also applied to "information material exported by any means, including mail, direct transmission, Telex, telephone, etc., and in all its forms - i.e. written, recorded, photographed or filmed, etc."
The maximum punishment for violation of censorship regulations is five years imprisonment.
Interior Minister Salah Salman said prohibited material included reports capable of provoking confusion, violence or panic; menacing security, furthering religious arrogance or undermining the unity of the people; weakening moral and which could lead to arguments capable of touching off renewed hostilities.
Also barred are reports which could weaken the morale of the armed forces and their safety; which insult the Lebanese president, Arab heads of state and heads of state of friendly nations; which could disrupt Lebanon's foreign relations or offend friendly nations; reports of specific incidents inflated to provoke sectarian strife; reports of movements, names of positions of the armed forces and reports that offend public morality.