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Media and Identity in Lebanon PDF Print E-mail
A group of Lebanese journalists working with Jemstone has produced a detailed media action plan for journalistic coverage in regions of tension and violence. 
Media, identity and the limits of democracy in Lebanon, Northern Ireland and The Netherlands
Jemstone Rolling Seminar -- outcomes and proposals for media action

Two systemic failings of the media in Lebanon were highlighted by a survey last year of local journalists: the quality of much of the local media output and the political context in which they have to operate (details attached).

To investigate how far the Lebanese media are part of Lebanon's problem, and, if so, what could be done, a group of journalists has been visiting Northern Ireland (to consider the peace process) and The Netherlands (where consensus-building is a core part of the political system). The aim was to produce new insights and practical proposals for action:


* specialist reporters training -- to develop journalism that matters to people; intensive, one-week workshops to create specialists in: education, environment, health, media-affairs, etc -- based on a successful formula developed by Jemstone;


* media guest 'lecturers' -- senior journalists from N Ireland and The Netherlands; selected by colleagues from Lebanon, to share their understanding and experience of covering conflict, divided societies and political attempts to build consensus;


* high-level seminars -- on mutual issues of peace, democracy and identity; these might include:

"remembering the dead and missing -- uncovering the truth not burying it " "democracy as the alternative to violence -- preconditions for success" "policing by consent -- security based on support not fear and firepower" "identifying institutional obstacles to reform -- and shifting the status quo"


* Lebanese-Jemstone film on the causes and effects of Bloody Sunday;

the personal story of Jon McCourt brought home to all the Lebanese who visited Derry, why The Troubles began, as well as the impact of media reporting -- ideally a joint project, involving several Lebanese broadcasters;


* media coverage of elections -- workshop and code of conduct; this would work best as a voluntary code, monitored and policed by civil society;


* news, comment and media ownership -- debate and comparative analysis; the Dutch have only one news broadcaster (others supply current affairs) -- could Tele-Liban be re-energised? or perhaps a code of conduct for media owners;


* unofficial support network for journalists -- Dutch examples available.


Joint ventures:

Each of the proposals above is a Lebanese-based initiative to address shortcomings identified by Lebanese journalists within their own media. We have spent 18 months developing this programme. We are now looking for partners to fund and support its implementation. We have detailed proposals and draft budgets.


Terms and conditions:

All events should include journalists from all the main communities and factions in Lebanon. (This might become a model for all media organisations in Lebanon, and could be backed up by equal employment legislation -- as happened in N Ireland.)

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