ourfreeminds

A.Seif – Tackling A Biased Media

In beirut, biased, brainwashing, lebanon, media, news on February 18, 2011 at 9:01 am

– An Introduction To My Series On Lebanon’s Fake Free Media –

Who do we listen to?

 

Like everything in Lebanon lately, our media is divided into two groups… Pro and Anti government (also referred to Mowelet and Mo3arada respectively). From television and radio to magazines and newspapers, we have an influx of lies and propaganda coming from both sides. But who to believe? How do we sift the truth from the lies? Well, that isn’t very easy.

Let me start off by naming some channels (and who they support), which will help me in describing this problem. We all know LBC, Future TV and MTV Lebanon which are known to be Pro-Government (when Hariri was Prime Minister of course). These channels grab the majority of viewers on Lebanese TV on an international level. Then, on the other side, we have the Hezballah-backed Al-Manar, NBN, OTV, and New TV. Of course we have many more channels, but these seven are the largest in the country. They also fall under sectarian lines in the nation, and of course support one or the other of the ever-so-popular political parties.

Tuning into these channels, it is fair to say they do cover the same topics, flash the same breaking news, and all claim their love and loyalty to Lebanon. They seem to have forgotten their love and loyalty to giving the Lebanese people the honest, unbiased truth. For example, during the rally on February 14, 2007, attended by hundreds of thousands of Lebanese to mark the second anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Opposition channels gave sparing coverage of the event, while pro-government channels (primarily LBC and Future TV) gave live coverage extensively. It was funny because the speeches given at this event were shown on both sides of the media war we have in Lebanon, but each side use the speeches to strengthen their political agendas and opinions. One side bashed the speeches while the other side praised them. Political analysts cut and diced at the speeches on both sides, each extracting something that they can use to make the other side look bad.

The result? A deeper divide in the Lebanese people. Extended sectarian tensions. And a whole lot of brainwashed people. Just ask anyone who watched Al-Manar religiously. Their opinion will not sway away from what they heard on the channel and the same applies for those who are devoted to Future TV. This is detrimental to our society. Sure we have freedom of speech in Lebanon, but what makes it any different from the state-run TV of Egypt? Was it not the Egyptian State TV who tried to sway the opinions of Egyptians during the January 25 events? Was is not the Egyptian State Tv that brainwashed people for years upon years? So what makes Lebanese TV any different? Nothing.

This raises another question about Lebanese media. Is our media really free media? Are our television channels giving us the unbiased truth? Of course not. We see what they want to show us. We hear what they want us to hear. And we read only what is laid out in front of us. That is the Lebanese people’s fault. We are so used to listening to our own political beliefs that we do not open our eyes to what else is out there. We have grown accustomed to not caring about the truth, but instead stubbornly defending what we believe in.

Lebanese media is the most ultimate fail in the region. So much lies, so much different stories, so much hate, and so much prejudices being displayed through the fiber optics of a television screen. How sad.

Look at these two videos for example. Look at the footages, the conversations, and what is being said. The first is a video of Future TV worker talking on another Pro-government channel, LBC. The second, footages displayed by the opposition. Both talking about the same events… May 7th (where Lebanon was brought closest to another civil war). I apologize that I couldn’t find a translated video for the second video, but to sum it up, it is just bashing of the Pro-government groups…while ignoring their role in the events.

  

See what I mean? Who do we trust? Who do we believe? They both attack each other and ignore their own role in the events that unfold in the nation. Which makes me ask again… is free media in Lebanon really, and honestly, free? Definitely not. And that’s what scares me.

So what s the solution? Like M.Nusair said in his post earlier today… the internet is the solution. I learned that anything that comes from Lebanese media is to be untrusted, biased, and phony. Believe it or not, most of my news now comes from Twitter, Blogs, and independent reporters in the country. At least the majority of them tell the truth. Really, open up your Google Chrome, and look for independent Lebanese media…it goes a long way. I just hope that with democracy on it’s way to beloved Egypt, that their free media doesn’t follow Lebanon’s sad version of free media. That is crucial.

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  1. Nice Post and great initiative! I however must point out a few issues in your post. LBC is not “pro-government”, it actually took a different path post 2008. It used to be in the “middle” between both “14” & “8”. However,it’s been more inclined towards March 8.
    Your mentioning of the “May 7th 2008” incidents are not accurate. I understand where you’re coming from. However, it shouldn’t be the example on which you base your argument. Going back to alternative media, to know the truth and the facts, you’d understand what I mean.
    I had been following your tweets ever since Jan 25. And since you mentioned those incidents as well, you forgot to mention the role of the Savior and truth reflector that Al Jazeera played, quadrupling its viewers traffic both online and offline. The majority of the people ended up watching the channel because it seemed like it was reflecting the voice of the people who were desperate to have their voices heard. However, AJA & AJE are not any better than those Lebanese channels or the Egypt State-run ones. I won’t elaborate more on that but it’s worth mentioning that AL Jazeera is also state-run. By Qatar, Israel and Iran’s ally in the region.
    So yeah, who to trust? Alternative media… But this does not mean boycotting all channels. At the contrary, one should see, watch and read all different opinions, consult books, consult blogs, tweets and what have we to have the real picture.
    At the end, ALL media channels do not operate to save the people. They operate to serve their own self interests (which sometimes seem like they voice out people), and as Naom Chomsky says “Talk shows & programs are only made to fill the gaps between advertisements”.

    • I totally, agree with you. I am tackling all of this what you said in my second post, which will be more in depth. This was my “intro”, i guess you could call it.

      LBC however is sponsored and run by Saudi Arabia, and their role has always been in support of the “Christian Identity” in Lebanon. I didnt go in depth on the March 8 events, because I think it is all silly. However, I see where your coming from.

  2. Great! Looking forward to the rest of your posts! 🙂
    I’m not sure about LBC being funded or sponsored by Saudi Arabia, but yeah I do agree about the role.

  3. I agree with you a hundred percent but its important to note that this is a problem everywhere which can put to question is there such a thing at all considered freedom of media and speech? Potentially not. News coverage is always dependent on a certain political leanings and agenda- its like an essay- you search for what works best with your argument.

    Another thing is that I have to give credit to both LBC and New TV for one reason – they are both politically affiliated to a great extent but LBC is currently under serious pressures from its previous owners and Gaagaa is not happy with them which can explain why LBC was replaced with MTV on satellite everywhere. It’s a media war. As for New TV, my god watching their news gives me a headache… they blab their opinion for an hour- which is in a way their right but it does serve their agenda at getting people who follow them to like them but anyway its important to note that this channel is owned by a secular man and they are potentially the only Lebanese channel with variety in religion and people though I can’t be sure of opinion and whether people who work for them have the same views they do.

    At the end of the day though, you are right… you can’t really trust any of them. I, too, after joining twitter have stopped watching and started reading it. Sad truth in our nation.

    Good post and thanks for sharing your always valuable insight.

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