Lebanese media today

Lebanon has long been recognized as having one of the most open and diverse media Environments in the Middle East. It was the first Arab country to permit private radio and television and there are now more than six independent television stations. Political interests have a strong influence though, as most media owners are affiliated with either a political party or a religious sect and content reflects their respective ideologies.

Several studies said that this “politicization” of the media is not new and that since the 1975-1990 civil war, when the majority of newspapers and broadcast stations were created, the media has strongly reflected the country’s pluralism and divisions.

Aligning with a particular political movement was the sense that a journalist might be better protected if they were working under a “political umbrella” rather than independently. This also means, however, that journalists risk losing their credibility as independent observers increasingly identified in connection with a particular movement, journalists risk being targeted for attack by representatives of opposing sides.

The blurred line between media and politics in Lebanon disappeared following the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri on 14 February 2005.

Each event happens in Lebanon or outside Lebanon; the media outlet will deal with it in a way that serve their political party.

For example, Press close to 14 March always claims that large number of people was killed in Syria by the regime forces, while press close to 8 March say that the same number was killed but by the free Syrian army.

This is one of many examples of reporting on the Syrian crisis in Lebanon, where each outlet has its own, sometimes contradictory “facts” and interpretations. This complete absence of critical, neutral reporting is only deepening divisions and escalating conflict within Lebanese society.

Lebanese media is contributing in discord and division among the Lebanese, because it’s directed to serve political and religious parties, and to ensure greater control over people’s mind, so how Lebanese people should fortify themselves from this politicized media??


5 thoughts on “Lebanese media today

  1. Very interesting perspective Aya! I’m sure certain media outlets in the U.S. have their own agendas, but to the general public these agendas are hard to identify because they are not as blatant and dividing as the political and religious lines the Lebanese media is split between. As an American attempting to learn more about the world you live in I feel I am constantly readjusting my perspective of everything from the Lebanese culture, political atmosphere, history, current events and future to see everything through the lens of religious sects and political ambition. Two subjects that have historically divided people and nations have such a heavy impact on, what it seems to me, as everything in the Lebanese way of life.

    One question I have is, you mentioned Lebanese reports often find protection under “political umbrellas”? I was curious because as the paragraph goes on you mention the risk associated with taking sides because then you are a target of political opposition. Do you see the original motivation of joining a political movement as seeking protection, or rather because choosing a religious or political side is so ingrained in the Lebanese culture that it effects every aspect of life?

    1. large number of Lebanese people belong to a political or religious parties which makes them more comfortable because they feel that they’re protected.

  2. Biased news is a problem for every country. In the US we have large news networks that portray very different views and even facts about political and social matters. You raised the question of how can Lebanese fortify themselves from the politicized media, and because of social media and easy internet access I believe for those who want to be informed should read, watch, and listen to many different outlets of news sources. For example, for US biased news I usually look to BBC in order to understand a more neutral stance and an opinion of a foreign country. Also, though blogs and social media are not concrete facts they do share opinions, stances, emotions, and give a more personal side of the story than the media may portray.

    1. i agree with you natalie, most of the Lebanese people watch 3 or more different media outlets in order to understand whats happening.

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