Media of Lebanon

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Lebanon is not only a regional center of media production but also the most liberal and free in the Arab world.[1] According to Press freedom's Reporters Without Borders, "the media have more freedom in Lebanon than in any other Arab country".[2] Despite its small population and geographic size, Lebanon plays an influential role in the production of information in the Arab world and is "at the core of a regional media network with global implications".[3]

News agencies[edit]

Lebanon has two state-owned news agencies.[4] Of them the national news agency (NNA), official news body of Lebanon, was launched in 1964.[5] The number of the NNA subscribers was around 600 in 1974.[5] The second agency is central news agency.[4]


The history of publishing in Lebanon dates back to 1610 when the first printing press was established at the Convent of Saint Anthony of Qozhaya in the Kadisha Valley, making its first publication, Qozhaya Psalter -the Bible's book of psalms, which was in both Syriac and Arabic, the first publication in the Middle East.[6] One of the first Arabic-script, printing presses in the region was founded in 1734 at The Convent of St. John in Khinshara where it remained in operation until 1899.[7]

In the second half of the nineteenth century, Beirut had become not only a multi-religious, commercial center but also an intellectual one, especially after the establishment of two private, higher education institutes, the American University of Beirut in 1864 and the Saint Joseph University in 1875, and it was this period that marked the emergence of Beirut's prolific press.[8] Lebanese publishers and journalists, along with Syrians, also played a major role in establishing the Egyptian press in the nineteenth century.[9]

After independence, Beirut emerged as the epicenter of publishing in the Arab world, characterized by free and liberal media and literary scenes.[10] In the 1940s, Beirut was home to 39 newspapers as well as 137 periodicals and journals that were published in three languages.[10] Beirut also hosted the first book fair in the Arab world in 1956. By the early sixties, there were close to a hundred publishers and more than 250 printing presses in Lebanon.[10] Armenian publications also flourished in Beirut with over 44 publications, including dailies and periodicals.[11] In 1962 the press law came into effect which was introduced by President Fuad Chebab.[12] As of September 2013, the law still regulates printed media in the country.[12]

Authors from Syria, Palestine and elsewhere in the Arab world found refuge in Lebanon's free and liberal publishing industry.[10] Lebanon's press became a huge industry despite the country's small size and has remained a haven for Arabic publishing.[9] The establishment of modern printing presses and sophisticated book distribution channels made Beirut a regional publishing leader, and gave the Lebanese publishers a dominant role in Arab publishing.[13] Lebanon hosts annually two important regional publishing events, the Beirut Book Fair and the Beirut Francophone Book Fair.[14]


Television in Lebanon was introduced in 1959, with the launch of two privately owned stations, CLT and Télé Orient that merged in 1977 into Télé Liban.[15] Lebanon has ten national television channels, with most being affiliated or supported by certain political parties or alliances. One of the latest addition is Al Mayadeen, which is close to Hezbollah, and it was launched on 11 June 2012 in Lebanon.[16]


There are many private radio stations in the country.[2] Two of the leading stations are BBC Arabic and Radio France Internationale.[2] In addition, local stations People’s Voice and Lebanon Voice are also popular radio outlets.[17]


Lebanon was one of the first countries in the Arabic-speaking world to introduce internet and Beirut's newspapers were the first in the region to provide readers with web versions of their newspapers. By 1996, three newspapers from Lebanon were online, Al Anwar, An Nahar, and Assafir, and by 2000, more than 200 websites provided news out of Lebanon.[3] Internet penetration from 2013 to 2016 has increased rapidly in Lebanon.[18] Use of social media platforms like Facebook has seen growth and has been highest in the Arab area as 77% for Lebanon in 2017.[19] As per August 2017, there are around 3.4 Million users on Facebook from Lebanon. The Instagram count is 1.3 Million.[20] This has also given rise to the concept of Internet celebrities in Lebanon like Karter Zaher (rapper), Laila Mourad (lifestyle vlogger), Adeela (Satirical page with unknown Admin), Said Mhamad (Photographer),[21][22] Khaled Mohamad Ali ( known as Khaledjali, a street style influencer)[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Migliorino, p. 122
  2. ^ a b c "Lebanon profile. Media". BBC. 29 January 2013. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
  3. ^ a b Dale F. Eickelman; Jon W. Anderson (1 July 2003). New media in the Muslim world: the emerging public sphere. Indiana University Press. pp. 63–65. ISBN 978-0-253-34252-2. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Media sustainability index 2008" (PDF). IREX. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 July 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  5. ^ a b Yahya R. Kamalipour; Hamid Mowlana (1994). Mass Media in the Middle East: A Comprehensive Handbook. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. Retrieved 9 September 2013.  – via Questia (subscription required)
  6. ^ Arabic and the Art of Printing: A Special Section. Saudi Aramco World. Retrieved on 11 December 2011.
  7. ^ The First Arabic Script Printing Press in Lebanon: Arabic Type Designer & Typographer: Arabic Type: Pascal Zoghbi. 29letters 5 January 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
  8. ^ Lebanon A Country Study by Federal Research Division, p. 42
  9. ^ a b Andrew Hammond (2005). Pop culture Arab world!: media, arts, and lifestyle. ABC-CLIO. p. 94. ISBN 978-1-85109-449-3. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
  10. ^ a b c d Migliorino, p. 123
  11. ^ Migliorino, p. 124
  12. ^ a b Dajani, Nabil (Summer 2013). "The Myth of Media Freedom in Lebanon" (PDF). Arab Media and Society (18). Retrieved 22 September 2013.
  13. ^ Anker, Jean. Libri: Volume 51
  14. ^ "Francophone book fair showcases Lebanese and foreign authors". The Daily Star. 28 October 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
  15. ^ Zahera Harb (30 May 2010). Channels of Resistance in Lebanon: Liberation Propaganda, Hezbollah and the Media. I.B.Tauris. p. 97. ISBN 978-1-84885-120-7. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
  16. ^ Karam, Zeina (11 June 2012). "New pan-Arab satellite channel goes on air". AJC News. Associate Press. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  17. ^ Sami Atallah (June 2013). "Turning a research idea into a national movement" (PDF). National Endowment for Democracy. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 October 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  18. ^ "Middle East Media Use Report 2016" (PDF). Qatar Northwestern University Publications.
  19. ^ "Social Media · Media Use in the Middle East, 2017". Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  20. ^ Kowalczyk, Kasia (2017-08-12). "Facebook and Instagram user demographics in Lebanon – August 2017". NapoleonCat. Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  21. ^ "المصوراللبناني المبدع / سعيد محمد Said Mhamad Photography – من أشهر المصورين المحترفين للأعراس على مستوى مواقع التواصل الإجتماعي على الفيس بوك -صوره أقرب للاحلام من الواقع ..لكنها واقع حي ..- حوار : كاتيا بواب .. | مجلة فن التصوير". (in Arabic). Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  22. ^ "Our list of top 20 Arab social media stars". StepFeed. 2017-06-30. Retrieved 2018-08-20.