Maharat Foundation by: George Sadaka, university professor specializing in media
Tony Mikhael, Head of the Media Monitoring team
This study explores how the Lebanese media engages with security events, scrutinizing its responses to potential violations by security forces and assessing its commitment to human rights principles. It unveils the nuanced and cautious approach adopted by both media outlets and security institutions when dealing with sensitive security topics by using a comprehensive range of research tools, including content analysis, case studies, focused group discussions with journalists, and interviews with various stakeholders.
The research finds differences among media outlets about their interest levels in security coverage, approaches to reporting security news, and the extent of criticism directed at security forces' transgressions.
Furthermore, it highlights certain weaknesses, such as a reliance on news sources and a lack of robust editorial initiatives like investigative reporting or in-depth analysis of developments.
The study also underscores the media's limitations in effectively covering human rights-related issues, such as the treatment of migrant workers or minority groups.
Significant disparities emerge among media outlets in terms of their coverage volume, the complexity of security issues addressed, and their efforts to confront security force transgressions. Journalists from the focus group and civil society organizations believe that the ties of Lebanese media to political and financial interests impact editorial choices and their approach to security matters. This is underscored by the contradictory positions some outlets adopt in covering specific events.
Despite these criticisms, civil society organizations that have raised concerns about the Lebanese media have also praised it for conveying their positions and data, stating that it plays a pivotal role in shedding light on security issues, as mentioned by Amnesty International. The diversity of the Lebanese media allows for the coverage of events from various angles and presents the majority of societal perspectives.
This study addressed a set of recommendations for each of the media institutions and security forces agencies with the aim of fostering trust and collaboration between them as well as enhancing reporting on security issues.
Jana Choucair, Zahraa Abdallah, and Jalal Yamout