Lebanon Political Orientation
Government Type: Parliamentary Democracy (with confessional structure)
Head of State: President Michel Aoun (The Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) (Centre-Right)
Head of Government: Prime Minister Najib Mikati (AZM Movement)
Speaker of Parliament: Nabih Berri (Shia Muslim) / The Amal Movement
Political Position: Center
MBFC’s Country Freedom Rating: 46.73 – Limited Freedom
World Press Freedom Rank: Lebanon 119/180
In 2022, Reporters Without Borders ranked Lebanon 119/180 in their Press Freedom Index, stating overall Lebanon is a very polarized country and in terms of press freedom, “newspapers, radio stations, and TV channels serve as the mouthpieces of political parties or businessmen.” Another issue stated by RSF concerns Lebanon’s criminal code, which criminalizes defamation and the dissemination of false information.
Media Ownership and Government Analysis
Lebanon is a very diverse country both religiously and culturally. In Lebanon, there are six different Muslim sects: Shi’a, Sunni, Druze, Isma’ili, Alawite, and Nusayr. There are also twelve different Christian sects. Maronite Catholic is the largest, and various other sects include Greek Orthodox, Melkite Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic, Armenian Catholic, Syrian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Chaldean Assyrian, Copt, and Protestant. Therefore, to establish a balance of power among these religious groups, a quasi federation al-nizam al-taeifi or the confessional regime was formed, where political power is distributed in the office of the President, Prime Minister, and Speaker of Parliament, with each representing one of Lebanon’s three largest religious sects (Maronite Christians, Sunni, and Shi’a Muslims).
Lebanese media reflects its political-cultural diversity, and compared to neighboring countries, Lebanon has more media freedom. However, Lebanon shows the highest rate of political affiliation, with the majority of media outlets being state-owned such as Télé-Liban, or owned by current or former members of parliament and political parties. Hezbollah operates Al-Manar TV. (Hezbollah is a Shiite Muslim, political, military, social organization, and ally with the Amal Movement.
In 1997, The United States designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, and in 2016, Saudi Arabia led Gulf countries also declared Hezbollah a terrorist group.) Like television channels, most Lebanese radio stations are also affiliated with a particular sect or political party. The owner has the same pattern when it comes to print media; for example, Al Mustaqbali is a newspaper founded by former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. It supports the political views of the Future Movement, which is led by his son, the former Prime Minister Saad Hariri (Sunni Muslim – Center-Right).
According to the Media Ownership Monitor, The Hariri family is also involved in several media outlets through their companies, either directly or indirectly. For example, they are involved in “Annahar through Al Mal Investment Co. SAL, in Al-Mustaqbal newspaper and Future TV directly, and Radio Orient through Wave Holding, and in The Daily Star through D.S. Holding and Millennium Development.” The Hariri family also owns the Paris-based Radio Orient, which is broadcast in France.”
Another example is Tahseen Khayat, a businessman, founder, and Chairman of Al Jadeed (TV Station), whose companies are also involved in the engineering and contracting sector, publishing, energy production, oil, and gas. Al-Jadeed’s editorial line is critical of the Future Movement and the March 14 Alliance.
In conclusion: Lebanese media is predominantly controlled by current and former politicians and parliament members. In fact, it has one of the highest rates of political affiliation ownership in the world at 78%. This results in significant government influence on media and the promotion of political propaganda by media outlets affiliated with different political parties.
|Top 5 Lebanon Media Sources by Web Rank|
Last Updated on May 12, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check
Left vs. Right Bias: How we rate the bias of media sources