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Regulatory Authorities

National Media Council (NMC)

Established by Law 382/1994, the NMC is composed of ten members; five of whom are elected by the Parliament and five designated by the Council of Ministers. The NMC’s role is to monitor the performance of media bodies, submit to the Ministry of Information reports on TV and radio programs and news content, submit recommendations to the Council of Ministers, work on developing new laws and regulations, and conduct studies on licensing requests.

The NMC is often criticized for its highly conservative line and its lack of effectiveness. It is believed that the members are chosen mainly along sectarian and political affiliation lines.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA)

The TRA of Lebanon started to operate in 2007. An independent public institution, the TRA was established by the Telecommunications Law No. 431 of 2002 and is in charge of liberalizing, regulating, and developing telecommunications in Lebanon. As such, the TRA is supposed to issue licenses, regulations, and decisions. It manages the telecommunications spectrum and monitors the market for any abuse of dominant position and anti-competitive practices. The TRA can take remedial action when necessary. However, a decision by the State Shura Council in 2011 and by the Minister of Telecommunications in 2015 suspended the TRA. Its powers have been effectively transferred to the Ministry of Telecommunications.

New Proposed Regulatory Bodies: New Media Draft Law

The new media draft law has been up for discussion in parliament, alongside the close collaboration of UNESCO, the Information Ministry, CSOs, NGOs, professionals, and former MPs; it was subjected to multiple amendments and further discussion within a number of parliamentary committees and bodies.
In December 2023, the parliamentary committee tasked with discussing the draft adopted the formation of an independent body, known as the "Regulatory Authority". The authority, which is mentioned in the draft law, would replace the National Audiovisual Council in its direct management and regulation of the media sector. Accordingly, a wide coalition of CSOs and social movement organizations rejected the establishment of such a committee with such an authority, given its potential contribution to the enhancement of an atmosphere of censorship and repression. On March 5 2024, the subcommittee emanating from the Administration and Justice Committee changed the name of “Regulatory Authority” to “National Media Authority”, and approved the provisions regarding the formation and organization of the authority.

Why the new draft media law is alarming

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