This is an automatically generated PDF version of the online resource lebanon.mom-gmr.org/en/ retrieved on 2024/07/15 at 13:47
Global Media Registry (GMR) & Samir Kassir Foundation - all rights reserved, published under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Samir Kassir Foundation
Global Media Registry

Indicators of Risks to Media Pluralism

Media Audience Concentration

Result: High Risk

This indicator aims to assess the concentration of audience and readership across media platforms based on audience share. Concentration is measured by using the Top4 concentration measure, which is most common in economical calculations.

Why?

Television: The TV market shows the highest audience concentration with the four major companies reaching 80% of the audience in 2024. The outlets include MTV, owned primarily by the Murr Family, LBC, majority owned by Pierre Daher, Al-Manar, owned exclusively by Hezbollah, and Al-Jadeed, majority owned by the Khayat family. The first three outlets alone gather almost 69% of the audience.

Radio: Compared to other sectors, radio outlets demonstrate relatively more dispersion and spread. Nevertheless, the most noteworthy aspect of this form of market-audience concentration, as opposed to the case of TV stations, is that all of these radio stations, with the exception of VDTL, are very explicitly affiliated with political parties or figures. These include but aren’t restricted to Al-Nour, owned exclusively by Hezbollah, Radio Liban Libre, owned exclusively by the Lebanese Forces, Sawt El Shaab, owned primarily by the Lebanese Communist Party, Radio Orient, owned almost exclusively by the Hariri family. In other words, while the market is more diverse, there are not many windows of opportunity on the level of access and licensing for alternative outlets. It is important to take note that most participants (65%) mentioned that they do not listen to the radio. If we take this out of the sample, we are left with the top 4 radio companies (Radio Liban Libre, Al-Nour, Sawt El Shaab, and Radio Orient) occupying around 54% of the audience share. 

Print: Given the decrease in print readership and prevalence over the years (72% of the participants do not read paper/print newspapers whatsoever), a very select number of outlets were able to retain their presence. These include but are not restricted to Annahar, owned primarily by the Tuéni family and Hariri family, Al-Akhbar, owned primarily by Ibrahim Al-Amine and Youssef Wehbi, Addiyar, owned primarily by Charles Ayoub, and L’Orient-Le Jour, owned primarily by the Eddé family, the Choueiri group, and the Pharaon family, all together dominating almost the entirety of print readers (with only 3% for retained for alternatives). It is important to note that all of these outlets now have online presence too.

Online: 

ELKA did not measure the audience data for particular online outlets, and so this data is unavailable, which in of itself is suggestive of a high risk issue. 

 

 

LOW MEDIUM HIGH 
Audience concentration in Television (horizontal) 
Percentage: 80% 
If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share below 25%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share between 25% and 49%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share above 50%. 
Audience concentration in Radio (horizontal) 
Percentage: 54%
If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share below 25%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share between 25% and 49%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share above 50%. 
Readership concentration in newspapers (horizontal) 
Percentage: 89%
If within one country the major 4 Owners have a readership share below 25%. If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a readership share between 25% and 49%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a readership share above 50%. 
Audience concentration in Internet (horizontal) 
Percentage: Missing data
If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share below 25%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share between 25% and 49%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share above 50%. 

Source: ELKA Lebanon.

Digital News Report Ireland 2023, Reuters Institute

Media Market Concentration

Result: Missing data

This indicator aims to assess the horizontal concentration of ownership within the media sector. Concentration is measured by using the Top4 concentration measure.

Why?

In Lebanon companies, despite particular regulations officially ensuring some level of financial transparency, regulations are not applied consistently. Hence, no financial information is available on specific horizontal markets, such as television, online, print and radio. Therefore, ownership concentration in horizontal markets cannot be computed. In accordance with our methodology, if the country presents data on audience, but not on revenues/market share: the market share data is excluded from the analysis, i.e., the findings are based on the audience data alone - the revenue data is considered optional.

LOWMEDIUMHIGH
Media market concentration in television (horizontal): This indicator aims to assess the concentration of ownership within the TV media sector. 
Percentage: Missing data
If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share below 25%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share between 25% and 49%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share above 50%. 
Media market concentration in radio (horizontal) : This indicator aims to assess the concentration of ownership within the Radio media sector.    
Percentage: Missing data
If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share below 25%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share between 25% and 49%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have an audience share above 50%. 
Media market concentration in newspapers (horizontal): This indicator aims to assess the concentration of ownership within the print  sector.
Percentage: Missing data
If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share below 25%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share between 25% and 49%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share above 50%. 
Media market concentration in Internet Content Providers 
Percentage: Missing data
If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share below 25%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share between 25% and 49%.  If within one country the major 4 owners (Top4) have a market share above 50%.  

Regulatory Safeguards: Media Ownership Concentration

Result: High Risk

This indicator aims to assess the existence and effective implementation of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific and/or competition law) against a high horizontal concentration ownership and/or control in the different media.

Why?

 

Generally, monopolistic practices are regulated by the Lebanese commercial legislation (mainly article 14 of Legislative decree No. 73 of 1983), but there is nothing specific to the media sector. There is no administrative authority or judicial body monitoring compliance with the threshold in the broadcast, online or print sector. Criminal courts theoretically enforce the articles against monopolistic practices of the commercial legislation.

Media ownership concentration is largely addressed through the 1962 Press Law and the 1994 Audiovisual Media Law. According to the 1962 Press Law, the owner and all shareholders of a media company must be Lebanese citizens. Article 31 also states that one person is allowed own a newspaper. According to the 1994 Audiovisual Media Law, any person or entity cannot own, directly or indirectly, more than 10% of the total shareholding of a single broadcast media station. However, this provision is circumvented in several instances.

In the broadcast sector (TV and Radio), the National Media Council studies licensing requests. It monitors the performance of media bodies, submits reports to the Ministry of Information on the TV and radio programs and news content, submits recommendations to the Council of Ministers, and works on drafting laws and regulations.

The print sector is formally organized into two bodies: the Lebanese Press Order for owners and the Lebanese Press Editors Syndicate for editors and journalists. There is, however, no administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with the media concentration regulations. The 1962 Press Law requires that any newspaper or periodical that wants to publish news on political events must first obtain a legislative decree granting it a Category 1 licence.

Ownership concentration in the online sector is not regulated. The Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (TRA) is the only agency regulating the spectrum and attributing licences to Internet Service Providers (ISPs), but in fact the TRA has been suspended and its powers transferred to the Ministry of Telecommunications.

Score: 8 out of 20 (25%)

Television, Radio, print and OnlineDescriptionYesNoNAMD
4.1Does the media legislation contain specific thresholds or limits, based on objective criteria (e.g. number of licenses, audience share, circulation, distribution of share capital or voting rights, turnover/revenue) to prevent a high level of horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in this sector?This question aims to assess the existence of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific) against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control.1
4.2Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with the thresholds in the audiovisual sector and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media and/or competition authority)?This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system for the regulation on audiovisual media concentration.0
4.3Does the law grant this body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioural and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?

The variable aims at assessing if the law is providing a due system of sanctions to sector-specific regulation, such as:

  • Refusal of additional licences;
  • Blocking of a merger or acquisition; 
  • Obligation to allocate windows for third party programming; 
  • Obligation to give up licences/activities in other media sectors;
  • Divestiture.
0
4.4Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?This indicator aims to assess the effective implementation of sector-specific remedies against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the television media.1
Total2 
MEDIA MERGERSDescriptionYesNoNAMD
4.17Can a high level of horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the media sector be prevented via merger control/competition rules that take into account the specificities of the media sector?

This question aims to assess the existence of regulatory safeguards (sector specific and/ or competition law) against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the media sector through merging operations. For instance, the law should prevent concentration in merging operations: 

- By containing media-specific provisions that impose stricter thresholds than in other sectors;

- The mandatory intervention of a media authority in merger and acquisition cases (for instance, the obligation for the competition authority to ask the advice of the media authority);

- The possibility to overrule the approval of a concentration by the communication authority for reasons of media pluralism (or public interest in general)); -that - even though they do not contain media-specific provisions - do not exclude the media sector from their scope of application.

0
4.18Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with rules on mergers and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media and/or competition authority)?This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system.0
4.19Does the law grant this body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioral and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?

The variable aims at assessing if the law is providing a due system of sanctions to sector-specific regulation, such as: 

  • Blocking of a merger or acquisition; 
  • Obligation to allocate windows for third party programming; 
  • Obligation to give up licences/activities in other media sectors;
  • Divestiture.
0
4.20Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?This indicator aims to assess the effective implementation of sector-specific remedies against a high horizontal concentration of ownership and/or control in the television media.0
Total0

 Source: Legal Assessment 

Cross-media Ownership Concentration

Result: Medium

This indicator aims to assess the concentration of ownership in the different sectors – television, newspapers, audio, and any other relevant media – of the media industry (cross-media). Cross-media ownership concentration is measured by adding up the market shares of Top 8  media companies/owners. When market data are not available, weighted audience shares are used instead, in which case the results are not the indicator of the economic strength across different media sectors but rather of the potential influence on public opinion.

Why?


We are unable to identify the top 8 firms with the highest revenue across all media sectors (TV, radio, newspapers, and online content providers) due to lack of financial data. Instead, this indicator is calculated based on audience shares and as such, the results presented are not an indicator of economic strength in different media sectors but rather for the potential influence on public opinion. The MOM team identified five major owners holding shares in media outlets across television, radio, and print sectors based on audience share. Almost all of the selected media outlets have online editions. However, as of now, due to the lack of online audience data, we are unable to calculate their reach through online platforms. Therefore, the actual cross-media audience share would exceed the findings whenever media owners also run online outlets. Therefore, the data provided might not show the full picture or could even be an underestimation of the real audience reach and potential influence on public opinion these owners might have. No audience share has been used since we lack this data in the online sector, but the media specific audience share was used when calculating in comparison to the overall media market. However, from observation, we can identify certain owners who have activities in more than one media sector and outlet. Media consumption is much different in Lebanon than other developing countries; people tend to watch TV much more than listen to radio or read newspapers. Different media sectors have different relevance and therefore weight and influence in Lebanese society.

These entities and/or families include the Hariri family, Mikati family, who own major shares in media outlets in the TV and online sector, the Lebanese State, which owns a TV station and a radio station (in addition to the National News Agency), Hezbollah, which owns media outlets in the radio and TV sectors through the Lebanese Communication Group L.C.G. SAL, and the Lebanese Forces, which own media outlets in the radio and online sector.

The Hariri Family; their audience combines:
16% of the print audience through Annahar, and 3% of the radio audience through Radio Orient.

The Mikati family, who own major shares in media outlets in the TV. Their audience combines: 13% of the TV audience through LBC.

The Lebanese State, which owns a TV station and a radio station (in addition to the National News Agency). Their audience combines: 1% of TV audience through Télé Liban, and 3% of radio audience through Radio Liban.

Hezbollah, which owns media outlets in the radio and TV sectors through the Lebanese Communication Group L.C.G. SAL, in addition to Al Ahed news website. Their audience combines: 5% of the radio audience through Al-Nour, and 11% of the TV audience through Al-Manar, in addition to the audience reached through the online platforms associated with the media outlets, which cannot be identified in numbers.

The Lebanese Forces, which own media outlets in the radio, print (Al-Massira magazine) and online sector. Their audience combines: 7% of the radio audience through Radio Liban Libre, in addition to the audience reached through the online platforms associated with the media outlets, which cannot be identified in numbers.

Summation: 59% 

LOW (1)MEDIUM (2)HIGH (3)
3Percentage: 59%
If within one country the major 8 owners (Top8) have a market share below 50% across the different media sectors.  If within one country the major 8 owners (Top8) have an audience share between 50% and 69% across the different media sectors. If within one country the major 8 owners (Top8) have a market share above 70% across the different media sectors.


Source: ELKA Lebanon.

Regulatory Safeguards: Cross-media Ownership Concentration

Result: High Risk

This indicator aims to assess the existence and effective implementation of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific and/or competition law) against a high degree of cross-ownership across media types (press, TV, radio, internet). Given the diversity of thresholds or limits that exist among different countries with regard to ownership and/or control, 'high' should be assessed according to the standards of your country and in the light of the thresholds or limits imposed by domestic laws.

There is no authority actively monitoring cross-media ownership. Generally, monopolistic practices are regulated by the Lebanese commercial legislation (mainly article 14 of Legislative Decree No. 73 of 1983). However, no regulation deals specifically with media concentration. Media ownership concentration is largely addressed through the 1962 Press Law and the 1994 Audiovisual Media Law. According to article 12 of the 1994 Audiovisual Media Law, a company is allowed to own a maximum of two broadcast companies simultaneously: one TV and one radio station. It cannot own two TV stations or two radio stations. This restriction applies only to TV and radio and there is no mention related to ownership of cable, internet, and newspapers. There is no mention either of a limitation of market share. As such, it is on paper possible for a company to own a license for a TV and a radio that can cover 99% of the market. It would also be possible for this company to own all newspapers and internet service providers (ISPs) in the country.

The 1962 Press Law does not deal with any form of cross-media ownership concentration. Generally, the commercial law is enforced based on the political and/or financial power of the respondent but there has not been any judicial case related to media mergers and cross-ownership. Nevertheless, the National Audiovisual Media Council does claim to ensure the compliance of companies that own media outlets with legal requirements, including ownership conditions. The council is relatively effective.

Score: 1 out of 8 (12.5%)
 

CROSS-MEDIA OWNERSHIPDescriptionYesNoNAMD
5.1Does the media legislation contain specific thresholds, based on objective criteria, such as number of licences, audience share, circulation, distribution of share capital or voting rights, turnover/revenue, to prevent a high degree of cross-ownership between the different media?This indicator aims to assess the existence of regulatory safeguards (sector-specific and/or competition law) against a high degree of cross-ownership in different media sectors.0.5  
5.2Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with these thresholds and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media authority)This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system for the regulation on audiovisual media concentration.  0
5.3Does the law grant body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioural and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?

The variable aims at assessing if the law is providing a due system of sanctions to sector-specific regulation, such as: 

  • Refusal of additional licences; Blocking of a merger or acquisition;
  • Obligation to allocate windows for third party programming;
  • Obligation to give up licences/activities in other media sectors;
  • Divestiture.
0.5  
5.4Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?

The relevant authority never uses its sanctioning powers.

The question aims at assessing the effectiveness of the remedies provided by the regulation.

  0
5.5Can a high degree of cross-ownership between different media be prevented via merger control/competition rules that take into account the specificities of the media sector?

For instance, cross-ownership can be prevented by comptetion law: 

- by the mandatory intervention of a media authority in M&A cases (for instance, the obligation for the competition authority to ask the advice of the media authority); 

- by the possibility to overrule the approval of a concentration by the competition authority for reasons of media pluralism (or Public interest in general);

 0
5.6Is there an administrative authority or judicial body actively monitoring compliance with these rules and/or hearing complaints? (e.g. media and/or competition authority)This variable aims to assess if the law/regulation provides a due monitoring and sanctioning system for the regulation against a high degree of cross-ownership in different media sectors via merger control/competition rules.0  
5.7Does the law grant body sanctioning/enforcement powers in order to impose proportionate remedies (behavioural and/or structural) in case of non-respect of the thresholds?

Examples sanctioning/enforcement powers and remedies: 

- blocking of a merger or acquisition;

- obligation to allocate windows for third party programming;

- must carryobligation to give up licences/activities in other media sectors ;

- divestiture.

 0
5.8Are these sanctioning/enforcement powers effectively used?The question aims at assessing the effectiveness of the remedies of the regulation.  0
Total1 out of 8            


Source: Legal Assessment

Ownership Transparency

Result: Medium Risk

This indicator assesses the transparency of data about the political affiliations of media owners as ownership transparency is a crucial precondition to enforce media pluralism.  

Why?

There is no obligation for media companies to disclose their ownership structures on their respective websites or printed publications. Most of the data related to ownership was obtained through the Commercial Register at the Ministry of Justice. There is currently no legal instrument in Lebanon that mandates for political actors to disclose their affiliation with media companies. Similarly, there is no legislation that prohibits conflict of interest to prevent political actors from holding political office while owning a media outlet. However, like all companies and businesses in Lebanon, media companies have to be registered at the Commercial Register. Each company profile, which includes the list of owners and the shares they hold, is available for a price of LBP 300,000 ($3.35 US - May 2024).

In order to complete missing data, which was available neither online nor offline, all media outlets included in this study (35) were contacted – through the media outlet and through the company – with a questionnaire. Four Lebanese media outlets out of the total sampled were actively transparent (11.4%). This means four media outlets published financial and/or ownership information on their websites or in publicly accessible reports: the state-owned Radio Liban, the print and online paper L’Orient-Le Jour, and two online independent media outlets: Daraj Media and Megaphone News. Passive transparency was also low (8.6%). Passive transparency refers to outlets that provide information in response to our request. The list includes Al-Liwaa, Voix du Liban 100.3, and Lebanon Debate.

For the majority of media outlets (68.5%), data was publicly available (24 outlets out of 35) at the Commercial Register. However, the quality of the official company profiles was poor and data was often obviously outdated, with changes in ownership not recorded, despite the efforts of researchers in SKF and our partners in SEEDS for Legal Initiatives. Data was assessed unavailable for 4 media outlets (Fajr Radio, Sawt Beirut International, Ya Sour, and Saida Online). Although names of the shareholders were registered, a lot of names were not available at the Commercial Register, despite this being required by law. No company actively disguised the ownership structure, e.g. through bogus companies. However, the MOM team found various ownership set-ups/patterns which demonstrate family links and party affiliations, rather than individual ownership, even when this is officially concealed.

MOM information requests were sent out by email and were followed up with further emails during the course of the research. However, only eight outlets have provided detailed replies to our requests in written form, via email or through phone calls. These outlets are: L’Orient-Le Jour, Nidaa Al Watan, Voix de Tout le Liban 93.3, Al-Nour, Al-Manar, MTV, Megaphone, and Daraj. 

Active Transparency – 11.4% of outlets in the sample

Passive Transparency – 8.6% of outlets in the sample

Data Publicly Available – 68.5% of outlets in the sample

Data Unavailable – 11.4% of outlets in the sample




LOW (1)MEDIUM (2)HIGH (3)
TRANSPARENCY
6.1

How would you assess the transparency and accessibility of data about media ownership?

Active Transparency – 24%
Passive Transparency – 2%
Data Publicly Available – 73%
Data Unavailable – 1%
Active Disguise - 0%

Data on media owners as well as their political affiliations is publicly available and transparent.

(Active Transparency)

Code if that applies to > 75% of the sample

Data of media owners and their political affiliations are disclosed based on investigations of journalists and media activists or upon request.

(Passive Transparency, Publicly Available)

Code if that applies > 50% of the sample. 

Data on political affiliations of media owners are not easily accessible by the public and investigative journalists of activists are not successful in disclosing these data.

(Data Unavailable, Active Disguise)

Code if data is available for < 50% of the sample

Regulatory Safeguards: Ownership Transparency

Result: High Risk

This indicator aims to assess the existence and effective implementation of transparency and disclosure provisions with regard to media ownership and/or control.

Why?

All Lebanese companies are required to register their minutes of meetings with the Commercial Register with no specific requirements for media companies. Companies that do not register their minutes are fined for each month and/or year of delay by the Ministry of Finance and the Commercial Register, operating under the Ministry of Justice. For transfers of shares and new members, registration is not immediately required, and if a change in the management of the company (director, board of directors, chairman) is not recorded, companies are not fined. However, they cannot move on with any other procedure requiring registration before the minutes of the meeting related to the change in the management are registered.

Audiovisual Media Law No. 382 of 1994 requires broadcast corporations (TV and radio) to submit their financial accounts every six months to the Ministry of Information. These accounts include the amounts or revenues arising from the corporation’s activity. Directors who refrain from submitting the company’s said reports are liable to prosecution (three to six-month prison sentence and/or LBP 10 to 30 million fine) Law of the Right to Information of 2017. It enables anyone, being an individual or an entity, to obtain information and documents held by government services. The scope of the law excludes private life and military secret matters, and judicial decisions related to minors and personal status. Implementation decrees are still on hold.

Score: 4 out of 5 (80%)

Transparency ProvisionsDescriptionYes No NAMD
7.1Does national (media, company, tax...) law contain transparency and disclosure provisions obliging media companies to publish their ownership structures on their website or in records/documents that are accessible to the public?The aim of the question is to check regulatory safeguard for transparency towards the citizens, the users and the public in general.1
7.2Does national (media, company, tax...) law contain transparency and disclosure provisions obliging media companies to report (changes in) ownership structures to public authorities (such as the media authority)?The aim of the question is to check regulatory safeguard for accountability and transparency towards public authorities.1
7.3Is there an obligation by national law to disclose relevant information after every change in ownership structure?This question aims at assessing if the law provides rules on the public availability of accurate and up-to-date data on media ownership. This is a condition for an effective transparency.1
7.4Are there any sanctions in case of non-respect of disclosure obligations?This question aims at assessing if the law on media ownership transparency can be enforced through the application of sanctions.1
7.5Do the obligations ensure that the public knows which legal or natural person effectively owns or controls the media company?This question aim at assessing the effectiveness of the laws that deal with media ownership transparency and if they succeed in disclosing the real owners of the media outlets.0
Total (Mean of L-e und L-I sub-indicators)4 


Source: Legal Assessment 

Political Control Over Media Outlets

Result: High risk

This indicator assesses the risk of political affiliations and control over editorial independence of newsrooms. It also assesses the level of interference by politically affiliated actors in the work of news media. Political affiliation means that a company belongs to a party, a partisan group, a party leader  or a clearly partisan person (either directly or indirectly through proxies).

Why?

In Lebanon, politics and media have very close ties as the licenses were often attributed in a way that reflects the diversity of political views in the country. Most of the media owners are directly or indirectly politically affiliated and allegiances and indirect affiliations shift with financial needs. This is the reason why the risk of political control of media outlets and distribution networks is assessed as high for media pluralism. For example, most of the outlets that are not directly controlled by a political party adopt editorial lines that support a political group or a strong political leader. You can read more information about the political affiliations here.

Out of the owners listed, 69% are politically affiliated. This also involves more than 80% of the outlets surveyed. The TV sector is the most politically affiliated, as all eight outlets have direct connections with the State, political parties, and currently active or aspiring politicians. One channel is state-owned. Four are owned or co-owned by currently active politicians, and while three TV channels do not have a direct affiliation to a political party, they are co-owned by business figures who have sought political office. As a whole, politically affiliated owners reach 100% of the audience.

The print sector’s dailies are almost all linked to political players. Al Mustaqbal (discontinued), Annahar, Al Joumhouria, L’Orient Le Jour, and Al-Akhbar have among their owners current and former Members of Parliament and the executive; Al-Binaa is owned by a political party, and Addiyar and Al-Liwaa are owned by individuals who have run for office. This represents at least 99% of the readership.

The radio sector is also very politicized with eight stations out of 9 stations owned/controlled by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with a specific political affiliation. While online news is a sector where political affiliations are also very clear, as all political parties represented in Parliament have their own political website serving as a news platform, it also has allowed for more diversity, providing a space for alternative media to flourish.  Five out of the 11 selected outlets have politically affiliated owners.

Political affiliations of media owners

  • The Lebanese State (Radio Liban, Télé Liban): the State’s legal monopoly on broadcasting ended in 1994 with the implementation of the Audiovisual Media Law, making Lebanon the first country in the Middle East to establish a regulatory system for permitting private radio and television broadcasting to be both produced and distributed within its borders. 

  • The Phalange Party (Voix du Liban): ten co-owners, including eight high-ranking officials of the party, formally own the company on behalf of the actual party.

  • The Lebanese Forces (Radio Liban Libre, Lebanese-forces.com): among the 17 co-owners of the company owning Radio Liban Libre, 11 are officials of the party. The Lebanese Forces party is also the official owner and editor of the party’s website.

  • The Lebanese Communist Party (Sawt El Shaab): while the legal set-up of the radio and the licensed company does not indicate direct ownership by the Lebanese Communist Party, most shareholders and administrators are affiliated with the party and do not hide the link between the radio and the party.

  • Hezbollah (Al Nour, Al Manar): members of the board of the Lebanese Communication Group L.C.G SAL are all high-ranking Hezbollah officials, including two former Members of Parliament, Abdallah Kassir and Mohammad Haidar.

  • The Hariri Family (Radio Orient, Future TV (discontinued), Al Mustaqbal (discontinued), The Daily Star (discontinued), and Annahar), led by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, president of the Future Movement. In these different outlets, additional shareholders are close allies of the family and/or belong to the same political party. The administrations of the outlets do not have links with the party structure but with the Hariri family directly.

  • Aoun Family (OTV):  the family of the former President of the Lebanese Republic Michel Aoun, founder of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), owns 12.8% of the OTV Holding shares, and 50% of Alubnaniah lil Ilam, which owns OTV’s broadcasting license. OTV Holding is the only media company that opened shares to the public and most of the public owners are FPM affiliated.

  • Elias Bou Saab (Sawt El Mada) is an MP of the FPM and current Deputy Speaker of Parliament, and owns 99% of the radio’s shares.

  • The influence of FPM is reinforced through Tayyar.org, which is the official party website, however not officially registered as a separate company.

  • The Berri Family (NBN): members of the family of Parliament Speaker and Amal Movement leader Nabih Berri appear in the ownership structure of the TV station (19.2%), alongside members of the Hamdan Family, which include close political allies of Nabih Berri, among whom his media advisor Ali Hamdan.

  • The Tuéni Family (Annahar): The family established Annahar and today holds around 20% of the shares. The Tuéni family has been historically involved in Lebanese politics, and is also connected to current Education Minister Marwan Hamadé (affiliated to the Progressive Socialist Party), the brother-in-law of late Annahar CEO Ghassan Tuéni.

  • Michel Elias Murr Family (Al Joumhouria), which is also connected to the Tuéni family (Michel Elias Murr being the grandfather of current Annahar CEO Nayla Tuéni), and to the other branches of the Murr family (owning respectively MTV and El-Nashra).

  • The Eddé Family (L’Orient Le Jour): former Minister Michel Eddé served in several cabinets, the latest were led by former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in the 1990s.

  • The Pharaon Family (L’Orient Le Jour): former Minister of State for Planning Michel Pharaon is a close ally of the Lebanese Forces.

  • The Mikati Family (Lebanon24, LBCI): Najib Mikati is the current Prime Minister of Lebanon. He also served twice as Lebanon Prime Minister in 2005 and from 2011 to 2013.

  • The Gabriel Murr Family (MTV): Gabriel Murr ran for Parliament in 2002, and is the brother of Michel Elias Murr.

  • Abdallah Zakhem (Al Jadeed): ran for Parliament in 2018. He is known to be close to the Marada Movement.

  • Nizar Younes (Al Jadeed): ran for the 2000 elections and his brother for the 2005 elections. 

  • William Mjalli (NBN) is the Director of former Deputy Prime Minister Issam Fares’ charity foundation.

  • Hani Hammoud (Future TV) is a member of former Prime Minister’s Saad Hariri staff and is affiliated with the Future Movement.

  • Kassem Soueid (NBN) is affiliated to the Amal Movement.

  • Mustapha El Husseini (Al-Akhbar) was a Member of Parliament, who owns with his children Sun Press S.A.L, controlling 18.8% of the shares of Akhbar Beirut S.A.L.

And while the main owners of Al-Akhbar (Ibrahim Al Amine) and Al Jadeed (Tahseen Khayat) are not formally members of any party, they are very active political players and commentators, with strong and public political leanings.

 

8.1 - 3 (Audience share controlled by political parties/politically-affiliated persons: 100%)

8.2 - 3 (Audience share controlled by political parties/politically-affiliated persons: 100%)

8.3 - 3 (Audience share controlled by political parties/politically-affiliated persons: 100%)
8.5 - 3 (Very few outlets have open databases which clarify their ownership sources)
8.6 - 3 (Official regulation mechanisms are ineffective and not applied)
8.7 - 3 (Editorial directions are determined and motivated by the interests and considerations of political sponsors)
8.8 - 3 (The vast majority of outlets do not claim, systematically, or based in any criteria, editorial independence) 

Score: 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 21 -> 21/7= 3

 

LOW (1)MEDIUM (2)HIGH (3)
POLITICISATION OF MEDIA OUTLETS
8.1

What is the share of TV media owned by politically affiliated entities?

The media having <30% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician, or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation.The media having <50% >30% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician, or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation. The media having >50% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician, or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation.
8.2

What is the share of Radio stations owned by politically affiliated entities?

The media having <30% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation.The media having <50%>30% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician, or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation. The media having >50% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation.
8.3What is the share of Newspapers owned by politically affiliated entities?
The media having <30% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation.The media having <50%>30% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation. The media having >50% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation.
8.4What is the share of Online News Media owned by politically affiliated entities?
The media having <30% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician, or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation.The media having <50%>30% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician, or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation. The media having >50% audience share is owned (controlled) by a specific political party, politician, or political grouping, or by an owner with specific political affiliation. 
8.5To what degree is politically affiliated ownership transparent?
There is only limited politically affiliated ownership in the country and in all cases, the owners and their interests are disclosed to the public.The majority of politically controlled news media are transparent about their ownership and interests.The majority of politically controlled media are secretive about their ownership and interests.
8.6Are there laws that regulate conflicts of interests between media ownership and political parties, partisan groups, party members, office holders and relatives?
There is clear and effective regulation that highlights the incompatibility of political office (on the local, regional, national level) with media ownership and requires transparency in the case of other political offices.There is regulation, but only covers some politically affiliated groups (effectively).There is no regulation, or regulation is ineffective.
8.7Do politically partisan owners or other political interest systematically interfere with the editorial autonomy of newsrooms?
The available evidence suggests very few or no attempts at interfering with editorial autonomy.The available evidence suggests occasional interferences and/or some degree of self-censorship in newsrooms. The available evidence suggests systemic interference with editorial autonomy, which may or may not be accompanied by self-censorship in newsrooms. 
8.8To what extent is editorial independence guaranteed in editorial statutes or in self-regulatory mechanisms?
Most news media in the country guarantee editorial independence in their statutes, or they subscribe to self-regulatory codes that do so.The most prestigious news media in the country guarantee editorial independence in their statutes, or they subscribe to self-regulatory codes that do so.Neither editorial statutes, nor self-regulation mentions editorial independence, or the guidelines are not respected by newsrooms.

Sources:, ELKA Lebanon, Legal Assessment


Wannous, S. (2023). Changing the narrative: alternative media bias and its ties to political economy.
MEGAPHONE: SOCIAL-MEDIA-NATIVE OUTLETS BETWEEN EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE AND ALGORITHMIC CONSTRAINTS

Merhej, K., & Qureshi, E. (2020). The Lebanese uprising in the digital age. CyberOrient, 14(2), 85-98.

Political Control Over Infrastructure

Result: Medium risk

This indicator assesses the political control on important infrastructural layers in the distribution, as well as in the value and supply chains of media content. It also assesses the level of discrimination in favour of politically affiliated media distribution networks. Infrastructural elements are in most cases privately owned and access is provided to news publishers for a fee.

 

Leading infrastructural element is defined as a network covering more than 15% of the national market.

Political affiliation means that the network belongs to a party, a partisan group, a party leader or a clearly partisan person. In some cases, infrastructural elements can be state-owned, but effectively under the control of a governing party.

Discriminatory actions include unfavourable pricing and posing barriers to media accessing the distribution channel.

Why?

The distribution network for print publications consists of a number of independent newspaper agencies (and sub agencies) located throughout the country that have been functioning for several years. These agencies are not exclusive to specific newspaper publications, instead they are shared among several, and often unrelated, newspaper companies, and work on a commission or subscription basis.

Radio networks distribution rely on the frequencies that are allocated by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) which is an independent public institution.

TV networks distribution rely on the frequencies that are allocated by the Council of Ministers. But given that the vast majority of households receive TV through legal or clandestine cable subscription, some cases of political discrimination have been reported. Al Jadeed was banned in the southern suburb of Beirut, a region broadly loyal to Hezbollah and the Amal Movement, after the TV channel mocked Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri in a comedy program called “Doma Karasi”. Cases of TV stations being cut off in some regions because of political disagreements are not rare.

Internet Service Providers are the distribution networks behind the internet. Most of the internet distribution is controlled by the State through its contractor Ogero, which has by the most conservative estimates, over 60% of the market for Internet service provision - naturally, Ogero has always had an inherent competitive advantage over the private sector. Private operators are allowed to compete with Ogero. Score: 1.83

LOW (1)MEDIUM (2)HIGH (3)
POLITICISATION OF INFRASTRUCTURE
9.1How would you assess the conduct of the leading distribution networks for print media?
Leading distribution networks are not politically affiliated or do not take discriminatory actions.At least one of the leading distribution networks is politically affiliated or takes occasional discriminatory actions.All of the leading distribution networks are politically affiliated and has a record of repeated discriminatory actions.
9.2How would you assess the conduct of the leading radio distribution networks? NA
Leading distribution networks are not politically affiliated or do not take discriminatory actions.At least one of the leading distribution networks is politically affiliated or takes occasional discriminatory actions.All of the leading distribution networks are politically affiliated and has a record of repeated discriminatory actions.
9.3How would you assess the conduct of the leading television distribution networks? 
Leading distribution networks are not politically affiliated or do not take discriminatory actions.At least one of the leading distribution networks is politically affiliated or takes occasional discriminatory actions. All of the leading distribution networks are politically affiliated and has a record of repeated discriminatory actions. 
9.4How would you assess the conduct of the leading internet distribution networks?
Leading distribution networks are not politically affiliated or do not take discriminatory actions.At least one of the leading distribution networks is politically affiliated or takes occasional discriminatory actions.All of the leading distribution networks are politically affiliated and has a record of repeated discriminatory actions.
9.5How would you assess the conduct of the leading service providers in the advertising market?
There is no indication that major commercial advertising agencies / sales houses would discriminate against independent media.At least one of the leading commercial advertising agencies / sales houses discriminates against independent media due to political affiliations (despite having a significant audience share).Independent news media don’t have access to commercial advertising agencies / sales houses discriminating against independent media due to political affiliations (despite having a significant audience share).
9.6How would you assess the conduct of the leading audience measurement services?
Audience measurement services are in practice available to all relevant market players and comply with industry standards; transparency, non-discrimination, proportionality, objectivity and inclusiveness of the methodology and the service is guaranteed.At least one of the leading audience measurement services raises concerns related to transparency, non-discrimination, proportionality, objectivity, and/or inclusiveness. All of the leading audience measurement services raise concerns related to transparency, non-discrimination, proportionality, objectivity, and/or inclusiveness.

State Control Over Media Resources

Result: High risk

This indicator assesses the influence of the state on the functioning of the media market, through control over public funds and resources, with an emphasis on the risk of discrimination in the distribution of state support and advertisement. The discrimination can be reflected in favouritism towards political parties or affiliates of political parties in the government, or in penalising the media criticising the government.

 

State advertising should be understood as any advertising paid by governments (national, regional, local) and state-owned institutions and companies.

Direct state support/subsidies are forms of support that have a predetermined monetary value and include a transfer of funds to news producers (including grants or interest-free loans), excluding the PSM.

Indirect state support/subsidies do not include a transfer of funds to news producers, and, in most cases, do not have a predetermined monetary value (such as tax exemptions or reductions, reduced distribution costs, or reduced social security contributions).

Disclaimer: Spectrum allocation can be considered a state-controlled resource, but we opted to include it in the previous indicator (D.9) on political control over infrastructure, as it is the key means of distributing radio content. Including it in this indicator as well, would have led to double-counting.

Why?

There  is  no  culture  and  practice  of  state  advertising  in  Lebanon,  hence  no  specific  rule  of  distribution  of  state  advertising. Government  institutions  have  their  public  service  announcements  aired  for  free  on  all  private  and  public  TV  stations.  Official  announcements  of  legal  and  regulatory  matters  are  also  published  in  all  newspapers,  without  discrimination.  Meanwhile,  state-owned  institutions  (Middle  East  Airlines,  Casino  du  Liban,  Ogero,  the  National  Lottery...)  have  their  advertisements  aired  for  a  fee,  but  go  through  the  advertising  agencies  similarly  to  any  private-sector  enterprise  that  wants to  advertise  in  the  media. Although  the  MOM  team  wasn’t  able  to  reach  any  data  on  the  share  of  State  advertising  in  the  market,  the  risk  of  control  of  the  state  over  media  funding  should  be  assessed  as  low. The  MOM  team,  however,  assessed  the  political  control  over  media  funding  as  a  high  risk  for  media  pluralism. There  are  no  rules  or  guidelines  to  ensure  that  State  advertising  is  fairly  distributed  based  on  circulation  figures,  nor  are  there  any  mechanisms  in  place  to  monitor  the  distribution  of  State  advertising. Political  funding  of  media  outlets  is  rather  linked  to  the  political  affiliations  of  their  owners.  Their  funding  shifts  as  their  allegiance  changes.  Almost  the  entirety  of  the  covered  media  outlets  (with the exception of some online outlets) is  politically  affiliated. Lebanese  media  have  been  receiving  funding  from  foreign  investors,  who  pursue  their  interest  in  the  country’s  politics  –  especially  in  the  print  sector   –  putting  them  at  risk  and  even  shutting  them  down  when  foreign  powers  don’t  fund  them  anymore.  Open  calls  have  been  made  to  request  foreign  funding.

LOW (1)MEDIUM (2)HIGH (3)
10.1Is state advertising distributed to media proportionately to their audience share?  No Data
State advertising is distributed to the media relatively proportionately to the audience shares of media.State advertising is distributed disproportionately (in terms of audience share) to the media. State advertising is distributed exclusively to few media outlets, which do not cover all major media outlets in the country.
10.2How would you assess the rules of distribution of state advertising?
State advertising is distributed to media outlets based on fair and transparent rules.State advertising is distributed to media outlets based on a set of rules but it is unclear whether they are fair and transparent.There are no rules regarding distribution of state advertising to media outlets or these are not transparent and/or fair.
IMPORTANCE OF STATE ADVERTISING
10.3

What is the share of state advertising as part of the overall Radio advertising market?
VALUE: Estimation

Share of state advertising is <5% of the overall marketShare of state advertising is 5%-10% of the overall marketShare of state advertising is > 10% of the overall market
10.3a

What is the share of state advertising as part of the overall Radio advertising market?
VALUE: Estimation

Share of state advertising is <5% of the overall market.Share of state advertising is 5%-10% of the overall market.Share of state advertising is > 10% of the overall market.
10.3b

What is the share of state advertising as part of the overall Newspaper advertising market?

VALUE: 1.4%

Share of state advertising is <5% of the overall market.Share of state advertising is 5%-10% of the overall market.Share of state advertising is > 10% of the overall market.
10.3c

What is the share of state advertising as part of the overall Online news media advertising market (without amounts spent on news intermediaries)?

VALUE:N/A

Share of state advertising is <5% of the overall market.Share of state advertising is 5%-10% of the overall market.Share of state advertising is > 10% of the overall market.
10.4Is direct financial support distributed fairly, transparently and based on clear rules? NA
There are clear rules on the allocation of direct state subsidies and, in practice, subsidies are transparently and fairly allocated (criteria may not only be based on market share, but also public interest content, underserved communities, the need for innovation, etc.)The rules on the allocation of direct state subsidies are either not clear or the process of allocation lacks sufficient transparency or shows signs of political bias.There are no rules on the allocation of direct state subsidies and/or the allocation of subsidies is opaque and/or clearly discriminatory.
10.5Is indirect financial support distributed fairly, transparently and based on clear rules?
There are clear rules on the allocation of indirect state subsidies and, in practice, access to indirect subsidies is transparent and fair.The rules on the allocation of indirect state subsidies are either not clear or the process of allocation lacks sufficient transparency or shows signs of political bias.There are no rules on the allocation of indirect state subsidies and/or the allocation of indirect subsidies is opaque and/or clearly discriminatory.
10.5Do all media outlets have access to the state-financed news agency, and do they receive quality content relevant for their news production?
There is a state-financed news agency in the country that is accessible to all news media under the same (and fair) conditions, providing objective, well-sourced information.There are some concerns related to access to the state financed news agency or possible bias in the content provided.Access to the state-owned news agency causes unnecessary burden for some news media and/or its content is biased.
10.6Do you consider the financing of the PSM independent and adequate? Not Applicable
The financing of the PSM is adequate, without distorting competition with private media; and the process includes sufficient guarantees against political dependencies (e.g. through licence fees)?The financing of the PSM is insufficient or could distort competition with private media; and the funding process may enable political dependencies?The financing is insufficient to a degree that quality journalism is not or hardly possible and/or the funding process is clearly under political control.
10.11How do you assess the independence of the appointment and dismissal process of the PSM management?
There are clear rules on the appointment and dismissal of the PSM management, independence from political actors is guaranteed; and in practice appointments and dismissal decisions are made based on professional considerations.Appointment and dismissal rules of PSM management may allow for some political influence and/or the practice of appointments and dismissals shows signs of bias.Rules on appointment and dismissal of PSM management clearly enable political influence and/or appointments and/or dismissals are clearly politically motivated.

 

 

Regulatory Safeguards: Net Neutrality

Risk: Low

Protecting net neutrality is essential to safeguarding media diversity because it guarantees equal ability to access and disseminate information, opinions, perspectives, etc. online, which is essential to media diversity in general, in our post-Internet society.  As the accurate measure of media diversity is based on media consumer behaviour (i.e., the total content consumers usually choose, and as more people are getting their news online where most news is now reported, online media is a significant indicator and supplier of media diversity overall. Thus, it is important that this platform not be hindered to more closely reflect traditional media platforms. Hindering the ability of the open Internet to facilitate the supply of media diversity, along with other negative consequences, is precisely what will happen without net neutrality protections.

This indicator aims to capture the landscape of legal regulation of net neutrality as well as the specific regulatory mechanisms that address net neutrality.

Why?

Although the scoring indicates a risk for net neutrality, it mainly reflects the fact that the concept of net neutrality is not defined in the Lebanese law, and as such is not addressed at all. There is no policy or bill pending on the issue in order to protect it. In the absence of a formal law or any other form of regulation explicitly protecting net neutrality, we focus on examining how net neutrality principles are addressed. The risk is therefore assessed as medium for the following reasons:

While net neutrality is not protected, the Telecommunications Law of 2002 deals with telecommunication service distribution and Internet Service Providers’ (ISP) licensing procedures:

  • Article 19 (1) provides that licenses for basic telecom, international and mobile services are granted by decree issued by the Council of Ministers, upon recommendation of the Minister of Telecommunications, after an international public auction organized by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).

  • Article 26 requires public telecom services to comply with universal service obligations that ensure a minimum level of comprehensive geographic coverage in the provision of telecommunication services.

  • Article 25 guarantees certain minimum standards of quality, including call completion rates and dial tone delays.

However, the TRA has been suspended in 2015 by then-Minister of Telecommunications Boutros Harb following a 2011 decision from the State Shura Council, the country’s highest administrative court. As such, the Ministry of Telecommunications controls and manages the Internet services directly by licensing ISPs, granting them access to Internet capacity, and by acting as an ISP through Ogero in parallel to the private sector. As the main operator of the fixed telecommunications network in Lebanon, Ogero has to follow some international standards and should therefore apply net neutrality as voted by the FCC.

In terms of blocking content, the Lebanese legislation is very loose in this field. While there is no prohibition of blocking access to online content as a principle, blocking access to a website requires a motivated judiciary decision, after request from official authorities and security agencies to the Ministry of Telecommunications. Only online gambling sites are blocked in Lebanon in order to preserve the monopoly granted to the National Lottery (La Libanaise des Jeux) and to Casino du Liban.  

 

NET NEUTRALITYDescriptionYesNoNAMD
Does national law address net neutrality directly or indirectly?Neutrality is regulated by domestic law in any way; it also aims to reflect any agreement between countries, as in the EU and countries that are part of the Council of Europe.10
Does national law contain norms that prohibit blocking of websites or content online?This question determines the degree to which a country’s net neutrality norms prevent blocking, one of the key components of a robust net neutrality framework0.5
Does national law contain norms that prohibit throttling of services or content provided online?This question determines the degree to which a country’s net neutrality norms prevent throttling, one of the key components of a robust net neutrality framework1
Does national law contain norms that prohibit zero-rating and/or paid prioritization?This question determines the degree to which a country’s net neutrality norms prevent zero-rating (of which paid prioritization is a common form), one of the key components of a robust net neutrality framework10
Where net neutrality is protected by law, does the legal framework recognize any exceptions, e.g. for reasonable network management?This question establishes when reasonable limits are placed on net neutrality protections versus other limits that may undermine its effectiveness.1x
Norms that prohibit or limit zero-rating are successfully implemented: Paid prioritization does not take place.This question aims to flesh out the extent to which paid prioritization occurs in practice despite its prohibition in law; a number of countries with ostensibly strong zero-rating protections experience this phenomenon. This indicator may shed light on the degree of difference between law and practices on the ground1x
Norms that prohibit or limit zero-rating are successfully implemented: No other forms of zero-rating take place.Same as above10
Norms are successfully implemented: Blocking and/or throttling do not take place.This question seeks to determine how the legal framework in place to protect net neutrality operates in practice with respect to blocking and throttling 0.50x
Are there regulatory or other entities charged with monitoring and enforcing net neutrality protections?This question highlights whether there are authorities charged with enforcing net neutrality protections 1x
Have sanctions been imposed for violations of net neutrality protections where these exist?This question may illustrate the extent to which violations of net neutrality norms are taken seriously as a matter of rule of law and political will1x
Are the enforcement mechanisms in place to identify and respond to net neutrality violations viewed as effective?This question shows the extent to which net neutrality norms actually achieve their goals 1
Total (Mean of L-e und L-I sub-indicators) 10

 

 

Gender Imbalance in the Media Industry

Result: High Risk

This indicator assesses the representation of women in news media, focusing on relevant newsroom policies and the share of women in management positions.

The Struggles of Women Journalists in Lebanon
Study Exposes the Many Challenges Facing Women Journalists

Score: 2.86

Why?

Over the years, the Samir Kassir Foundation has conducted a number of studies and reports which concern the socio-economic and bodily autonomy and protection of women journalists in the workforce. More recently, a report released in late February of 2024 outlines the professional and personal challenges faced by women journalists in Lebanon, shedding light on their labor rights, such as salaries, promotions, and vacations, as well as the various discomforts they encounter within the field. Based on the investigative and in-depth interview process conducted by our researchers, we conclude: “The situation for female journalists in Lebanon reveals a complex landscape marked by numerous challenges and deficiencies within institutions.

Despite efforts to address issues such as sexual harassment and unequal treatment, there remains a pervasive lack of accountability and support mechanisms. Female journalists face obstacles such as limited access to paid leave, concerns about confidentiality and safety, and a lack of effective recourse for addressing harassment and abuse of power. While there may be some recognition of the need to improve conditions for female journalists, tangible progress is hindered by systemic issues and entrenched power dynamics.

Moving forward, concerted efforts are needed to enact meaningful reforms, promote gender equality, and create a safer and more supportive environment for female journalists in Lebanon.” As for the women in positions of power or authority in media outlets, there are only a very few model examples, particularly present amongst some of the pioneering alternative online media outlets, such as Megaphone News and Daraj Media. They are accompanied by some exceptions of traditional outlets such as Annahar, managed by Nayla Tuéni, and Al-Jadeed, whose Editor-in-Chief is Mariam Al-Bassam.

 

LOW (1)MEDIUM (2)HIGH (3)
12.1Do the leading news media in your country have a policy aiming at a balanced representation of women in the newsroom?
Most leading news media have a gender equality policy or other kinds of self-regulatory measures to make sure that there is adequate representation of women in the newsrooms and in management positions. Moreover, there are mechanisms at place to make sure women in the newsroom don’t encounter harassment or discrimination.Some news media have a gender equality policy or other kinds of self-regulatory measures to make sure that there is adequate representation of women in the newsrooms and in management positions. In these news media, there are mechanisms at place to make sure women in the newsroom don’t encounter harassment or discrimination.There is no gender equality policy in the newsrooms assessed, or they are not effective, leading to discrimination and harassment of female journalists.
12.2Are women journalists subject to harassment or online/ offline violence in your country?
The working environment of women journalists is safe, harassment online or offline is not common, sufficient safeguards are in place.Both men and women are harassed to a similar extent, (physical) violence against female journalists is not common.Cases of violence are reported and harassment of women journalists is common in the country, with many known and reported cases. Women are considered to be more targeted by harassment and violence than men.
12.3

What is the share of women among owners of leading news media? 

VALUE TV: 0%

VALUE Radio: 0%

VALUE Print: 10%

VALUE Online: 18%

Average of VALUES : 7%

40 percent or moreBetween 39 and 30 percentLess than 30 percent
12.4

What is the share of women among founders of news media? 

VALUE TV: 0%

VALUE Radio: 0%

VALUE Print: 0%

VALUE Online: 24%

Average of VALUES: 6%

40 percent or moreBetween 39 and 30 percentLess than 30 percent
12.5

What is the share of women amongst top managers of news media (such as director/CEO)?

VALUE TV: 0%

VALUE Radio: 0%

VALUE Print: 10%

VALUE Online: 18%

Average of VALUES: 7%

40 percent or moreBetween 39 and 30 percentLess than 30 percent
12.6

What is the share of women editors-in-chief (or equivalent leading editorial positions in the newsroom)?  

VALUE TV: 12.5% 

VALUE Radio: 0

VALUE Print: 10%

VALUE Online: 18%

Average of VALUES: 13.5%

40 percent or moreBetween 39 and 30 percentLess than 30 percent
12.7

What is the share of women in the boards of news media (meaning non-editorial management positions, such as chief financial officer, head of sales and marketing, etc.)? 

VALUE TV: 0

VALUE Radio: 0 

VALUE Print: 10%

VALUE Online: 18%

Average of VALUES: 7%

 

40 percent or moreBetween 39 and 30 percentLess than 30 percent

 

 

The Struggles of Women Journalists in Lebanon
Study Exposes the Many Challenges Facing Women Journalists

  • Project by
    Samir Kassir Foundation
  •  
    Global Media Registry
  • Funded by
    BMZ
  •  
    Logo of Kingdom of Netherlands