Authors: Elsaeßer, Christine
Madanat, Philip
Pies, Judith
Title: New Media – Old Problems
Other Titles: Online Practices of Media Accountability in Lebanon
Language (ISO): en
Abstract: Lebanon’s media has been envied for its press freedom and high quality by many Arabs from the region for decades. After 15 years of civil war the media had quickly started to flourish again. Yet, internal and external observers have been concerned about the close links between the media and political and religious groups that have led to highly politicized journalism. There is no professional organisation that could unify journalists from the various fractions and set in force binding rules like a code of ethics. A media council does not exist, journalists unions are not involved in media accountability practices and a state’s ombudsman has never been instituted. Yet, internal accountability practices are relatively well developed. As political affiliation of media outlets is openly handled (e.g. staff is mainly recruited from each media’s particular political group, party emblems are published prominently, mission statements and ownership information are partly available), Lebanese normally know how to interpret the news. Accountability practices that were already in evidence in offline media have been adopted by the majority of websites, such as by-lines, precise references in stories and letters-to-the-editor. Internet specific practices have only been partly adopted. While allowing comments on each article is available on half of the analysed websites, practices strongly integrating the audience in production processes like collaborative story writing can only be found on one TV website. Pure Internet practices like media accountability (MA) Facebook groups or watchblogs do not exist in Lebanon and if users of Facebook and Twitter or bloggers do appear, they seem to follow the same sectarian lines as Lebanon’s society and media audiences. The only Internet practice solely dedicated to watching the entire media field and its independence is the relatively new website of SKeyes. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) play the most important role in initiating discussion about media accountability and in building MA capacities by focusing on media literacy. Here again, the Internet is not a pre-requisite but a tool for supporting or easing their activities.
Subject Headings: Accountability
Social Media
Subject Headings (RSWK): Glaubwürdigkeit
Soziale Software
Issue Date: 2011-06-01
Provenance: MediaAcT/Erich Brost Institute
Appears in Collections:MediaACT

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