Trust in news media

This is a summary of the research and analysis of the levels of trust in news media 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.

39% think that news media are credible and only 35% think that media can report the news independently without interference from officials. (Source: Media Use in the Middle East, 2019)

  • In 2019 66% of Lebanese say they prefer to consume news from organisations based in the country but this has declined from 93% in 2017.

  • Preference for news from organisation from outside Lebanon is small but increased: 2% in 2017 to 10% in 2019.

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


There is a “brain drain” of journalists leaving to other professions or to work in media which many believe have lower ethical standards.

This perception appears to be backed up by:

  • The decline in people believing that “people benefit from consuming news from foreign organizations”: 45% in 2019 down from 54% in 2017.

  • Trust and confidence to report the news fully, accurately and fairly are higher among Lebanese media (59%) than Arab media outside the country (37%).


An increasing number of Lebanese (73% in 2019 up from 68% in 2017) think that “it is okay for the news to report about problems in my community”.

According to Maharat Foundation:

“As in the rest of the world, the old business model was faltering and facing survival challenges. Meanwhile, new business models were being created and media companies started to appear online, quickly reaching a wide segment of audiences. However, the economic weight of this process still falls short of expectations, at times being even disappointing.This reality paves the way for media entrepreneurship and for setting up media startups that rely on innovation and creativity in delivering content, offering a successful business model that ensures their survival and financial independence while keeping a distance from politics money that controls most of the traditional media in Lebanon.?

State v private media?

  • 72% of Lebanese say their favourite news outlet is privately owned

  • 7% preferred news outlets that are state-owned.

Mainstream media?


Journalists from legacy media not being paid and they are losing their jobs creating a danger that they may go to work for media that are based outside Lebanon or leave the profession altogether. Lebanon’s media ecosystem will suffer and will become poorer.


There is a perception among some in Lebanese civil society and media support organisations that mainstream media will struggle to embrace the changes needed to survive and produce quality journalism.


There is still an opportunity to work with traditional media that is not directly owned by politicians as they are more vulnerable to market conditions than organisations and maybe more open exploring new business models and producing journalism that audiences value and trust.

Interventions to support journalism should not ignore television and radio as large parts of the population, especially older people, still rely on them. But this support should be put in place with strict criteria.

What is being done?


Lebanese Media Crisis and the Future

Authors: Sharif Abdunnur and Krystle Houiess (2018)

This peer-reviewed journal discusses the Lebanese media crisis, portraying the shift that occurred in the country from being one of the leaders in media in the region to a place that is undergoing a severe media crisis.

Lebanon enjoyed exceptional freedom of expression among its neighbouring countries, characterized by the diversity of voices and platforms. Thus, the country as the article indicates was “a unique theatre for different political regimes in the Arab world to flex their muscles” (102). From 1970 to 2000, Lebanon witnessed the flow of regional funding. However, once the funding has stopped, the country's media crisis emerged.

The study shows how the Lebanese media outlets that have survived the crises are today “dependent on political investors, while the news business is in the service of “the sectarian elites’. The few surviving media outlets in Lebanon are still fully reliant on local, regional and international “political donors”.

As for the future of the media, this study suggests the necessity for the new media in Lebanon to be honest and to avoid the serving of “the war propaganda” with the suggestion of establishing the low-cost media outlets. The digital media allow for the creation of content that does not depend on “investors” and offers innovative content that cannot be censored.


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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