Lebanon/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation  

5.3.8 Other areas of relevant legislation

 Cultural industries

The following are some of the legislations governing the flourishing cultural industries in Lebanon:

Directives 2302 of 2003.

Press Law of 1962 and its amendments.

Law 27 of 2008 pertaining to the regulation of art professions: "Law No. 56, 27122008. While the terms and provisions of the new Ministry regulation law are characterized by inclusiveness, specialization and consistency as illustrated above, especially in terms of amendment of all contradictions dominated the old legislation that was replete with legislative gaps on key areas, however, we cannot say the same about organizing cultural occupations.

A preliminary reading of Law No. 562008 shows several gaps that haven't been addressed by the new legislation, especially in terms of the legislator`s disregard of addressing the problem of tax burdens suffered by workers of the profession, and most importantly, the omission of distinction between non-profit cultural works and activities and those of a purely commercial profit"


Freedom of speech

Article 13 of the Lebanese constitution consolidates freedom of expression in speech and writing. The preamble of the constitution also states that "Lebanon is also a founding and active member of the United Nations Organization and abides by its covenants and by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights", which means that the rules and principles mentioned in these conventions have indeed a constitutional value in Lebanon.

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights states "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by Lebanon by virtue of Decree 3855 dated 1/9/1927 states "1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference. 2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice."

On the other hand, article 13 of the Lebanese constitution stipulates:" Freedom of expression in speech and writing, freedom of assembly and freedom of forming associations shall all be guaranteed within the boundaries of the law."

By referring to this legal text, Lebanese legislators put freedom of forming associations in the same position as the other basic freedoms directly related to freedom of expressing opinions and ideas affected by the developments that took place in France after the French Revolution, which consolidated freedom of associations by virtue of special laws, such as Law 21 March 1884 pertaining to labor unions and Law 1 July 1901 pertaining to civil associations, from which Ottoman legislators extracted most of the provisions of Association Law of 1909, which is still in power.

This legislative fabric allows the adaptation of juristic principles and interpretations applied in the field of Associations Law.

Considering freedom of association a basic constitutional right entails that no authority, with the exception of the legislative power and pursuant to certain laws, may restrict that freedom, and that is within a relatively narrow framework as defined in paragraph 2 of article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: "No restrictions may be placed on the practice of this right other than those which are prescribed by law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order, the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on members of the armed forces and of the police in their exercise of this right "

If the freedom of associations is not limited to the freedom of establishment or formation only but also to all stages of the association's life and all aspects of its activities to the moment of its dissolution, the creation of the association still has special importance given the impact of the creation process and the provisions it upholds on the development of the association's legal entity which shall be associated with it all its life and until this entity is terminated by dissolution or demise. 


Legislation for self-employed artists

There is no law pertaining to self-employed artists and this sector is only governed in the framework of the tax imposed on these artists according to the specialty of each.


Other relevant areas of legislation

Prior to the issuance of law No. 562008, the concept of "artist" has been – on the legislative level – was closely linked to organizing work at brothels and nightclubs (an issue to be addressed in detail in the section of Problematic Topics below since the legislation in question is still valid for foreign artists working on Lebanese territory). The legislative texts once governed the cultural sector before 2008 lack definitions or limitations that may provide a legislative framework for artistic professions at the local level, an issue clearly dealt with by the new law.

By virtue of the new, an artist is defined as follows: "every natural person who participates in one of the artistic categories as an innovator or performer of a given role". Such categories were listed by the law including: music, theatrical performance, audio-visual artworks, performing artworks, advertising, literature, plastic and traditional arts"

Chapter published: 07-04-2016