Lebanon recorded a shocking decline in the World Press Freedom Index for 2022, as it ranked 130th out of 180 countries, and was 107th last year, according to the report issued by Reporters Without Borders under the title “A new era of polarisation”.
The decline of 23 places is considered significant for a country known for its freedom of opinion and expression for many years.
In its classification, the organization relied on five main factors, which are:
– The political context of each country.
– The legal framework for the work of journalists
– The economic context
– The social and cultural context
– The safety of journalists in their work.
The report considered that real freedom of expression exists in the Lebanese media, but in reality the sector is controlled by a small group of individuals directly associated with political parties or belonging to local families.
The media landscape, as stated in the report, reflects the political structure in Lebanon, while the written press reflects the political and sectarian differences that the country is witnessing, without neglecting religious censorship of the media, which it described as an important weapon in the political struggle.
The organization considered that public opinion is mostly conservative, and some topics are still taboo, such as criticism of cultural and religious heritage, and journalists are often targeted with defamation campaigns, and political activists participate in these campaigns, especially Hezbollah activists, who use Twitter to threaten journalists.