The Lebanese media scene: mission-less, description-less, and – worst of all – woman-less.
Posted by adiamondinsunlight on March 10, 2009
Its a suddenly-gorgeous Tuesday morning in New York, and I am leafing through emails while finishing up a report. For those of you as interested in media as I am, I am pasting in the striking opening paragraphs of a press release from media development NGO Internews: “Behind the scenes at Lebanon’s media companies“.
Lebanon is notable in the Arab region for its degree of press freedom and variety of media outlets. Yet for all that, there is surprisingly little attention paid to the business side of Lebanese media companies, according to a new study by Internews Network. The study found that 40% of Lebanese media organizations based in Beirut have never adopted a mission statement, 70% do not have job descriptions, and 29% do not employ a single woman.
I worked with a small part of Lebanon’s media sector for a time – with an outfit that oddly enough was dominated by women – and have several friends and acquaintances who still work in the arena. (And by ‘Lebanon’s media sector’ I mean those radio stations, television channels, and print publications operated by a primarily Lebanese staff.) I do agree that the presence of women is important, but in my experience the issue is more with the positions that women hold in the 71% of companies that do hire at least one woman. Are they decision-makers? Are they in management positions? And are they paid as much as their male colleagues?
In any case, the findings listed above may be somewhat self-serving, since they serve primarily to introduce Internews’ work in Lebanon:
Through conducting the research study and organizing meetings and workshops, Internews network is helping Lebanese media managers understand and adopt sound management practices to strengthen their companies, improve their coverage, and expand their audiences. The ultimate goal is to strengthen the independent media sector in Lebanon as a key component of the peace and reconciliation process in Lebanon.
You can read the rest of the press release by clicking on the link above. According to Internews’ website, its work in Lebanon is funded by the U.S. Department of State, through the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (a bureau new to me, whose website can be found here).