President Aoun (R) and Prime Minister Hariri in a Cabinet session at the presidential palace in Baabda, Monday, May 21, 2018. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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When Cabinet Secretary-General Fouad Fleifel presented President Michel Aoun with the first fully electronic copy of the Official Gazette last week, it seemed a great moment of innovation befitting a tech-savvy government.By Thursday, the free electronic version had disappeared from Cabinet's website, replaced by the new one – far more advanced and complete, but also far more expensive.The Lebanese public now must pay LL550,000 ($366) per year to access the country's official record of all laws, decrees, decisions and rulings – a vital source of information for lawyers, activists, researchers, journalists and citizens.According to Ghassan Moukheiber, an outgoing MP who wrote 2017's watershed Right to Access Information Law, corporate interests are at play with the decision to put the gazette behind a paywall.
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