My latest column on Middle East Eye analyzes the media and press crisis in Lebanon and the government's focus on bailing them out. I argue that without modifying Lebanon's archaic press laws, we wouldn't be saving the press. If anything, we'd be saving the feudal status-quo.
Below is an excerpt:
I was taking part in a panel about Lebanon’s environmental crisis in Beirut last month when an engineer, sympathetic to the Lebanese establishment, criticised me.
“You call yourself a journalist, but you aren’t naming and shaming these individuals you’re talking about right now. Why don’t you? You are a journalist, aren’t you?”
The ignoramus comment he made doesn’t take into consideration Lebanon’s lack of a truly free press, and the lack of rights I have as an unlicensed journalist.
Lebanon’s licensed newspapers and media outlets are struggling to generate revenue. Many struggle to pay their staff on time. Now the government wants to find a way to keep them from going broke.
That being said, saving Lebanon’s media goes beyond bailing out struggling newspapers and media outlets of the establishment. It’s about revolutionising what ought to be a tool and space for accountability, discussion and civic action.
The media has been hijacked and suffocated by Lebanon’s feudal-style politics, and the current crisis is an opportunity to solve the problem at its very core.
Read the full article here.
Photo courtesy of AFP