Lebanon/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates  

4.2.6 Media pluralism and content diversity

The media sector in Lebanon is not different from the other public and private sectors in terms of sectarian distribution and political and party allegiance. Despite the issuance since 1961 of several decrees covering the ministry of Information reorganization and the recruitment and staffing conditions, National News Agency, Lebanon Radio and Lebanon Television, television channels, radio stations and newspapers (except a few of them) still follow the prevailing allotment system.

The various media establishments in Lebanon have not paid specific attention to cultural and knowledge topics, because these institutions did not completely abide by the terms of the law of audio-visual media. Since 1961 the area of cultural programming has faded to become relatively non-existent on television screens, although it had more a greater presence via the radio.

Audio-visual media was often limited in giving access to young people, as our societies are not accustomed to a democratic cultural dialogue on local subjects, and media entities did not encourage sophisticated behavior and freedom of expression space stayed limited and ineffective.

The various media tools in Lebanon have never paid attention to circulating culture and knowledge since theses tools have not included culture within its programs. No commitment has been completely considered with the terms of audio-visual media law formerly enacted by the government. On the other hand, audio-visual mass media does not meet the youth right to access such media. The culture of democratic dialogue of a given group on a given local issue has not yet been circulated in our societies. Furthermore, the mass media did not encourage such sophisticated behavior, and the space allocated to expressing one`s opinion is still scarce and inefficient.

This is because these various media in Lebanon belong to particular groups which have an open ideology, represented in public policies, regulations and laws, and another implicit ideology represented in the culture promoted by the media, education and the cultural activities.

Therefore, there is close link between the media and culture and the ideology of each community or even each sect due to interrelation of many factors such as money, the relationship with the public etc. like  in other world countries, the most important and common is the visual media, which has several trends such as Mediology that assigns crucial power to the technical staff and Criticism, where Bourdieu thinks it is possible to control this mechanism of mind manipulation using the same logic of the system, which promotes the dominance of certain classes at the expense of other classes: Al-Manar, Al-Iyman, Future. LBC, Lebanon TV, NBN, MTV, OTV, and Al-jadeed TV, especially those operated by the private sector, which has entered the field of religion and politics and has become unable to play a national role due to the absence of vision and strategic planning at the national level (Nahawand Al Kaderi Issa: reading through the culture of Arab TV channels)

Minister of Information, Ghazi Aridi, describe this problem as follows: "More than one information code of ethics have been signed among the media establishments. During the war, there was no law especially for audio and visual media. The Radio and Television law was issued in 1994, and has not been upgraded since. It needs many amendments, but political conditions are hindering this process (Imad Eddin Raef: About media freedoms in Lebanon)

More importantly, the media addresses the Lebanese public with a distributive discourse as every media agency has its own political, cultural and social discourse. This is one of the reasons which contributed in the Lebanese civil wars and dividing the Lebanese people into many categories.

 

Chapter published: 07-04-2016


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