Digital distribution of news

This is a summary of the research and analysis of the digital distribution of news in Lebanon. At the bottom of the page, you will find links to key resources.

This resource page is a work in progress. Please get in touch to let us know what is missing using this form.

According to Media Use in the Middle East, 2019 - A seven-nation survey by Northwestern University in Qatar, in Lebanon:

  • While 90% of Lebanese get their news on the internet only 43% use news applications or websites. 85% use social media, while 91% use instant messaging.

  • Facebook (78%) and WhatsApp (92%) are the most popular platforms with users number increasing for most social media.

  • Facebook is used to get news about current events (73%) and share news about current events (58%) by a significant majority of users.

  • Over half of Whatsapp users use the messaging service to get or share news about current events. This is higher on Twitter but it has very few users by comparison.

  • Youtube is increasingly used as a news source by 53% of users in 2019 up from 33% in 2017.

These trends mean that some media development organisations in Lebanon are calling for media to work with tech and social media companies to identify quality trusted sources of information and increase their reach.


The Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) convened by Reporters Without Borders but with backing from around 200 media organisations is conducting a pilot in Lebanon. Support for this kind of initiative would be welcome but in large part depends on the engagement and willingness of the tech platforms to recognise JTI and/or other programmes, such as United for News that attempt to help advertisers and advertising exchanges make more informed decisions about where their adverts appear.

Media viability and sustainability

Economic pressures are endangering the livelihoods of journalists and the viability of media organisations in Lebanon, whether they are traditional or new, emerging media.

As a report by Maharat Foundation notes:

“The institutional crisis in the Lebanese media is not new. It is an economic model that was established decades ago and was designed to be compatible with the political, economic, social and technical conditions that prevailed at the time. This model should have been reformed after the 1970s and 1980s, but all attempts leading up to the digital revolution failed. There were also the financial crises that did not spare the audiovisual media. These companies were not prepared to take the blow when the crisis hit. As a result, many media companies closed down and many media professionals were made redundant to cut costs.”

(Source: Media Startups in Lebanon, 2018)

Paying for journalism

(Source: Media Use in the Middle East, 2019)


This resource page is a work in progress. Please get in touch to let us know what is missing using this form.

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