Lebanon has one of the most politicized landscapes, with nearly two thirds of the surveyed media belonging to active political figures or political parties. Moreover, the most popular media outlets of each sector are in the hand of eight families with political interests, reinforcing the polarization of the media landscape.
The TV sector is the most popular when it comes to news, with the four major companies reaching 78.1% of the audience. Out of the nine national TV stations, six belong to the state or are owned or co-owned by currently active politicians, two are owned or co-owned by former or aspiring political figures, and one belongs to a political party.
The radio sector is very concentrated with the major four companies gathering 72% of the audience. It is also very politicized with four radio stations belonging to political parties and three to the state or currently active politicians.
The print sector is highly concentrated with the four major companies reaching 77.9% of the audience. Most of the print outlets owners are politically affiliated. Six are owned or co-owned by currently active politicians, two are owned by a former parliamentary candidate and one is directly owned by a political party.
The online sector also witnesses strong political affiliation. Four out of ten of the covered websites are politically affiliated. Two websites are directly owned by political parties, one belongs to an incumbent Member of Parliament and one belongs to a former parliamentary candidate.
And who owns these companies?
Although most of the media outlets surveyed belong to a sole legal entity, it can be stated that 12 families are involved in media ownership, hence gaining influence over public opinion. When shedding light on those families, three trends appear: some families have been in the media sector for decades and entered politics after building a strong name for themselves in the media; some have begun their public life in politics and later on invested in the media sector as a means to exert more influence; and some have been running the two lives in parallel, as their political role has always been backed by a presence in the media sector. And the number of women as media owners is worryingly low.