Media War in Lebanon
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There is a famous quote that says: "the start of any war is a speech". The Lebanese society, as a collection of minorities is an extremely divided community with different religions, sects, and beliefs. This will result in a race between mixed cultures with a wide range of intelligence and understanding of worldwide relationships. This partitioned society reflects its differences at all aspects of life; in other words, politics, social believes and media. However, it does not uphold those differences as an advantage. Instead of uniting together, people got The Lebanese people have not learned to live together nor adapt to the fact that difference does not harm. This bad habit started a long time ago, and caused a terrible and damaging civil war. The Lebanese civil war was a different type of war. It made Lebanon a battle field for powers and groups beyond Lebanon. It started for religious reasons, and ended in 1990. ( Harb,I, 2005) The last one was due to the involvement of Syria and Israel. The funny part is that the people still follow those leaders that lead them to a war. Lebanese are passing through hard times, and in hard times people tend to extreme measures. Now Lebanon is separated into extreme categories. Each category is set by a sect, with one main leader. Each one of those parties must have a propaganda plan based on a certain ideology. Each propaganda plan consists of several media methods that spread their message, words and images to the people. This is where one of the main issues lies. Media and especially the Television channels affect the people and harm society with their biased news broadcasts. When you watch a professional TV news, you expect to have the news as they are without adding the opinion of editors expressed. The television stations are close or related to political and sectarian groups. In other words, they promote specific political agendas. The journalists working for those stations and the stations them selves are not seen as independent producers they are representatives of political movements and they are open to attack or oppose any factions going on in Lebanon. However, the consequences of those biased news and the attacks have become uncontrollable and sky high. For the last four years (2005-2009), the Lebanese "Media War" is responsible for harming its citizens due to the biased news set by different localized television channels.
When the licenses for TV broadcasting were distributed at the early 90s, every sect got her share as a window to show their political views to their followers and others. The Christian got the LBC and MTV -which was closed later.. The Future that is representing the Sunnis' voice, the Manar and NBN that are reflecting the Shiis' political ideology. New licenses were also given later to the NewTV that represents the Sunnis's Voice against Harriri, and OTV that was given to Aoun to represent the opposing Christian point of view in the Lebanese political life.
TV stations are controlled and financed by the different political parties, the results were catastrophic causing a deep partition in the weak Lebanese society. Political interviews on different TV stations have turned the Lebanese people into lost animals in a forest ready for battle. The unusual part of the latest trend is that people now depend on some television channels to discover the facts. The problem is simple, biased and localized TV stations are damaging to the community. The negative effect of media spread by these channels reflects itself on all the aspects of the Lebanese life even on the elections of the student councils at the universities. This can be seen by the last student council election results at the AUB. On the other hand, AUB considered being the largest and most important university in Lebanon carries organized and important student elections where each TV channel gives a result that shows her followers as winners of the election... Every channel broadcasted an interview with a student that supported the same party as the television and stated that they had won the elections.
LBC broadcasted that the Christian party that follows Samir Ja'a Ja'a won the elections. (LBC, 2001) While channels such as Al Manar and New TV stated that the other Christian group supporting Michael Aoun won the elections.(Tayyar, 2001) This kept me confused and dazzled about the fact of how diminishing and stupid the media has become. The biased and partial news keep the followers of every party controlled by the leaders in an indirect manner. In other words as long as the people are pleased with results from the news they will remain supporters. The people in touch with the news bulletin, gossip, and rumors become influenced by the news. They become victims to the deceitful and selective of images and words and they end up being like sac of potatoes following unmerciful leaders similar to the previously ones, we have seen in history as Hitler, Mussolini, & Assad- which will lead to distortion and chaos.
Imad Harb wrote an article called Lebanon's Confessionalism: Problems and Prospects. He wrote: "Lebanon's TV stations try to act as if they are pan-Lebanese. On occasion when there are certain political emergencies or other crises their overage seems to become increasingly confessional." (Harb, I., 2006 March, p.3) Later he wrote: "In the spring of 2005 television has become more personalized than confessional. There was a new spirit of hope in the air following popular mobilization against the Syrian presence in the country. Media coverage of the riots in few years back that resulted in the burning of the Danish consulate in Beirut was almost entirely political with LBC and the Future TV concentrating on the fact that many of those arrested were Syrian while NEW TV and others emphasizing other mitigating circumstances." (Harb, I., 2006 March) The danger of broadcasting such news might revolve the viewers being diplomatic to savages. Simple words and pictures could print an image in the mind. Hatred could become the new motivation guiding the people. If they watch the assassination of a person they admired over and over again on television then rage takes over them. Rage and anger are unsafe and hazardous feelings to be experienced in tactically harsh times. If person followed group X and learned to hate group Y, then X becomes the worst enemy of group Y. Results are then crystal clear, constant fighting, blinded from truth, then end of Lebanese brotherhood and the elimination of diplomatic peaceful humanitarian life.
Gibran Tueni was the proprietor of An Nahar, which was Beirut's leading newspaper. Unfortunately on December, 12th 2005 he was assassinated by a car bomb. Jefferson Morley wrote in an article called World Opinion Round up: "Tueni was among the first to denounce the Syrian occupation of the country. The website is opinionated in favor of the anti-Syrian views of its late editor but also conciliatory toward Hezbollah, the fundamentalist Shiite political party and militia." (Morley, J., 2005, p.1) The LBC interviewed people that supported Gibran Tueni and asked them about their opinion towards the crime and their response was indirect towards the Syrians. It is a clear brainwashing game when they keep reminding people of the sad crime. Lately Michael Oun has joined hands with Huzballah which means now both parties are supporters of Syrians. Looking at the political biased broadcasts from different points of view, Al Manar and New TV are not different from the LBC and the Future broadcasting methods. Huzballah consider themselves the protector of Lebanon and think they have the right to carry weapons not owned by the army. To keep that image floating into people's minds, Al Manar broadcasts filmed Huzballah soldiers firing missiles and playing militia games in fake battle fields and some real ones (During the 14 July war). The idea behind those featured films is to show the strength of Huzballah and how they are needed for the safety of Lebanese people. Here they are playing the game of making the people feel the security and protection under the power of Hezbollah. Al Manar also repeats images of the suffering Palestinian people. These features remind the people of the other reason why Huzballah is found. Basically it shows how supportive Huzballah is to supporting countries especially weak ones, and this implies that he could be of help to the weak and in need from the Lebanese people. I found articles related to the political issues. One small detail wrote "On December 7th, 2006 Hassan Nasrallah issued another televised speech calling for further protests, and demanded that the death of Ahmad Mahmoud should not serve as an excuse for any violent clashes. He also made a solemn oath that Lebanon's Shiites would not be dragged into a sectarian war with Sunnis." (united nations economic and social council.) Hassan Nasrallah always makes speeches on Television. His high charisma helps him to reach the people. Huzballah is shown as a strong and at the same time peaceful. This makes their followers to believe in them even more. "On July 30 th"According to UWAC "Hezbollah utilizes a multifaceted media campaign to garner support from the Arab world and bolster its ability to wage urban warfare" The obvious part is keeping the people estranged, and on bad terms. No one now makes his own decision until his leading channel broadcasts what he should start believing in. It is the basis of brainwashing, basically having info put straight into your mind without understanding. One last damaging result of this media chaos is the bad image of Lebanon that is reflected to the Arab and foreign communities about Lebanon and its citizens. The tourism, the main income that the Lebanese economy depends on is very badly affected by the image that our TV channels are reflecting and this will, of course, show by the lowering standards of living of all the Lebanese.
However, the media war has proven to be useful for Lebanese people rather than harming them, since channels will now show there true colors on many subjects and topics. People can now watch the various channels and decide for themselves who is on the right path towards improving Lebanon, and choose who to support. furthermore researchers and politicians who really care about Lebanon's wellbeing can now identify the differences clearly and on that base's work on a better Lebanon , since the channels proudly show how biased there opinions are on various topics .for example the ongoing war with Israel, forming the government, national debt .In addition, The media war aided in the process of encouraging Lebanese youth in pursing there educational paths forward in the fields of economics and politics , because they have seen the clear image behind following false media war propagandas .however these positive effects are a minute compared to the titan negative problems it create. Surely positive returns from the media war are healthy ,but the fact still remains that media war is massively harming the Lebanese people .
All in all, the ones most damaged about this entire media game are the people because they are the target of each single party. Changing or discarding current channels should be a priority for the New Lebanese generation. No one cares about the people. The new channels should show what the people really need. They do not need words, nor funny speeches or a nice color to follow. All they need is for someone to express their pain. How come is it that Lebanon is ripping the people off with a high ten percent tax that has recently been implied, borrow money from external countries and still are in debt that they need France three to borrow new money. Where is all the money going? Why don't the television channels explain that fact?. Why do AUB, LAU, AUT, Balamand, NDU, and the Lebanese university graduates end up working as waiters in various restaurants in Lebanon. The news is busy and excited filming every university elections live. They should film the problem of employment and insufficient salaries of those students instead..