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Freedom of Press and Human Rights in Lebanon


Freedom of the press

Due to the far-reaching, legally guaranteed freedom of the press, 13 daily newspapers, 300 weekly, monthly and quarterly magazines and many print versions from foreign (Arabic) newspaper houses appear in Lebanon. In addition, eight local residents broadcast mostly private television stations around the clock. The latter can be received worldwide via satellite. In this area too, one notices the fragmentation of Lebanese society along denominational and political fault lines. Criticism of the government is possible and common. In particular, incitement to sectarian tension is prohibited. Journalists are also regularly fined for researching corruption.

There is hardly a television station or newspaper aimed at all Lebanese. Each of the major denominations has one or two television stations and influences the corresponding daily newspaper. The formal freedom of the press is unique in a regional comparison, but on closer inspection it becomes apparent that journalists in Lebanon live dangerously and often have to stick to invisible red lines. So there is a free, but no independent press in Lebanon. The media companies are highly politicized depending on the owner or financier. This leads to strong self-censorship among journalists who do not seek investigative research against those who fund them.

The main media in the country are:

– Al-Mustaqbal and the newspaper of the same name are financed by the Al Hariri family.

– MTV is operated by the Al Murr family

– NBN is Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri assigned

– Al-Manar is a Hezbollah broadcaster

– Al-Jadeed is a pan-Arab broadcaster

– LBC is an entertainment channel


– Al-Akhbar is an Arab national daily newspaper

– Assafir is a pan- Arabic oriented daily newspaper (was discontinued in 2017)

– Annahar

– Al-Liwaa

– Al-Anwar

– L’Orient le Jour

– The daily star

In addition, a number of lifestyle and youth magazines appear in Lebanon, so that in principle Lebanon has an oversupply of media when you consider that all newspapers in the country have a combined circulation of less than 100,000 per day.

Human rights

According to naturegnosis, Lebanon has been a founding member of the United Nations since 1945. The then Lebanese delegate Charles Malik played a key role in the creation of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Accordingly, compared to other Arab countries, the country enjoys a democratic tradition based on the rule of law, which is expressed in an active civil society and non-governmental organizations. However, in spite of legal regulations, gross violations of human rights can be identified. Equality for women is lagging behind. Citizenship is granted through the father, which many observers see as the clearest sign of structural and cultural discrimination against women is rated in Lebanon. The protection of migrants and refugees is not granted in accordance with international standards, and reports of ill-treatment and torture during interrogation are increasing. The people missing since the civil war are an open wound in Lebanon. One of the greatest challenges for human rights in Lebanon is the balancing act of the Lebanese state between granting security and observing the rights of freedom. In the current situation, the state fails in both tasks. Although Lebanon has signed numerous international human rights treaties, minorities such as the Palestinian and Syrian refugees living in Lebanon still do not enjoy the same rights as Lebanese. Palestinians make up about eight percent of Lebanon’s population. They are marginalized in public and political life and are denied many of their rights. Their movements in Lebanon are monitored inside and outside the refugee camps and they must obtain permission to travel abroad. Refugees are prohibited from practicing around 36 professions. They also only have partial access to the national social security fund. In order to be able to practice the professions they are allowed to do, they have to apply for a work permit every year, which entails extremely lengthy administrative processes. Compared to Lebanese nationals, refugees receive lower wages for the same work.

Amnesty International also regularly criticized the use of force by Lebanese security forces and poor prison conditions in Lebanese prisons.

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Women’s rights

In 1996 Lebanon ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), but the accompanying Optional Protocol has not yet been signed. In article 1 of the Protocol, the States parties recognize the competence of the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination the woman for receiving and reviewing communications from affected women and groups of women. In a regional comparison, Lebanese women are better off, but women’s rights in Lebanon are massively curtailed both by the state and socially. The state grants citizenship only to children of Lebanese men. Lebanese women married to foreigners are left behind. In Lebanese society, the understanding of roles is still widespread, according to which the woman should primarily take care of the household and the children. Lebanese women are underrepresented in the political decision-making bodies and are paid less in authorities as well as in the private sector, while Lebanese women are overrepresented in the country’s universities. The patriarchal system is often strengthened and maintained by the law. However, civil society organizations were able to exert sufficient pressure and, on August 16, 2017, a majority in favor of repealing an article of law that allowed a rapist to avoid conviction by marrying his victim. The 1948 Act provided legal protection for sex offenders if they retrospectively married their victim. Article 522 of the Lebanese Criminal Code provided that after a rape or abduction if”a legal marriage is concluded between the author of one of these crimes and the victim, the prosecution ceases […]”.

Despite its liberal image, discrimination and violence against women are a common problem in Lebanon. However, this topic is rarely debated in society. The country’s women’s rights organization has been trying for years to break the silence and protect women from violence. Women are not allowed to have any sexual relationship with a man outside of marriage. Should they violate this cultural norm, they will be sanctioned in the name of “family honor”, tradition or even religion. In extreme cases, this can cost those affected their lives.

Asian and African housekeepers work for $ 100 to $ 200 a month in over a hundred thousand households in Lebanon. Their legal situation is precarious and abuse is not uncommon. This insecure situation of women makes them particularly vulnerable to human rights abuses. Your freedom of movement is restricted. Not infrequently they are victims of violence.