Media and information landscape in Lebanon (2021) Report Summary

This is a brief summary of the key research findings and recommendations proposed by the Media and information landscape in Lebanon (2021) report in 2021.

Research findings:

The research found that the organizational structure of alternative media outlets lacked documented statements about their mission and vision. Additionally, these outlets find that the development of an organizational vision is challenging, which can result in the current gap between the organizations’ objectives and their structure. The fact that these outlets often rely on unpaid staff members because of transient grants also leads to a lack of human resources, which limits the outlet’s growth. Additionally, the legal and regulatory framework in Lebanon often stalls organizations’ access to information, which ends up impacting the communications and information ecosystem of the country as a whole. This interference from the public sector is also evidenced in the ambiguity of media-governing laws. Further on, the failing and unstable banking system of Lebanon acts as an additional burden to alternative media outlets. This hinders these outlets’ capacities to rely on banks to both manage their finances and give financial assistance. Moreover, media outlets have struggled to build clear editorial policies that adapt to the changing circumstances of the social environment. Many have prioritized addressing fake news and verifying information presented by the traditional media, thus putting alternative outlets at a disadvantage particularly with audiences interested solely in breaking news. Also, because freedom of expression is threatened in Lebanon, alternative media outlets have sought to target audiences abroad. However, the fact that governments are incurring in media censorship forces outlets to find different ways of publishing their content. On the other hand, research points to media consumption still being television-centered for people over 40 years old, although younger audiences prefer viewing news content through social media platforms. Nonetheless, it is important to highlight the true prevalence of fake news, which makes alternative media outlets all the more important. As such, it is important to understand the information needs of Lebanese audiences. However, it is also important to note that the majority of the respondents view traditional media sources as untrustworthy and biased, but are unaware of the existence of alternative outlets. Those that are aware, however, perceive alternative media stories as “recycled” from traditional media stories. Thus, women and youth, particularly, rely on Facebook and Whatsapp more than they do media outlets as a whole.


Based on these findings, the report suggested key recommendations to three main groups: donor agencies, alternative media outlets, and media development organizations.

Donor agencies:

  • Long-term, core, and flexible monetary support for alternative media outlets.

  • Support alternative media outlets with innovation funds.

  • Encourage knowledge exchange and learning through supporting the outlets’ capacity-building and development.

  • More diverse funding models. Improve organizational strategy.

  • Improve legal status and funding opportunities through seeking legal support.

  • Strengthen and build relationships with the current audience.

  • Improve understanding of audience’s engagement online, and build better marketing strategies.

  • Improve content by implementing formats that appeal to the audience’s concerns, interests, and preferences. Enhance understanding of audience demography and geography, and thus, audience targeting.

  • Expand geographical reach.

Media development organizations:

  • Support media outlets in their developing of organizational, financial, and thematic audience reach plans.

  • Encourage and facilitate cooperation among media outlets.

Full report available at:

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