Lebanese TV Stations: A Mix of Ambiguity, Favoritism and Corruption

TV STATIONS

 

Tele Liban (TL): The only state-owned TV channel in Lebanon that has a neutral evaluation about Lebanese internal affairs and kept a self-distance from the world and regional events. The lack of funding and support from the Lebanese government positioned the network at an inferior level, offering average programs, plain series, and boring news bulletin. Tele Liban cynical status is the results of massive support and investment in private TV stations that offer more content flexibility and political influence. Early this year, an open conflict occurred between the temporarily appointed director Talal Makdessi and the employees which led to the suspension of Makdessi until a new executive is appointed by the Lebanese government.        

Murr TV (MTV): Re-launched in 2009 following the cedar revolution, the network received mass fundings from the Arab Gulf States, with the sole mission to back the March 14 movement and counter Hezbollah, Syria and Iran’s communication and expansion in the Lebanese media scene. Their state-of-the-art equipment and programs variety placed it as a leader among other channels, but this investment turned to be untenable in a small market such as Lebanon. With the dissipation of the M14 movement and a drought financial support, MTV faced an internal crisis with the lack of sponsorships and media spending, instead, it turned to influence media statistics to miserably attract advertisers. That came with lavish attacks on other channels such as LBC and Al-Jadeed whose programs were directly competing with the channel.

Orange TV (OTV): Founded two years after the return of Michel Aoun to Lebanon, the channel was the mouthpiece of the Free Patriotic Movement led by the current president of Lebanon. It widely contributed to the communication and propaganda of March 8, a movement in open dispute with March 14. Its programs are considered dull, lacking innovation, ideas and entertaining television franchises.    

National Broadcasting Network (NBN): It’s all about Nabih Berri, the head of Amal party and speaker of the Lebanese parliament for more than 25 years. Launched in 1996, it dedicated all its reports and news for Berri’s daily activities whereas some suggest that the real name of the station stands for Nabih Berri Network (NBN). It survives on the support of private donors from Lebanon, Syria and abroad.  

 

Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC): Rode the revolutionary wave of 2005, the TV channel faced judicial difficulties with the Lebanese Forces and Al-Walid Ben Talal on the proprietary rights and invested capital of the channel. During that period, it lost viewership due to the rise of MTV locally and other regional Arab channels. In 2016, it chose a more neutral political policy and approach to generating ads with a massive investment in its online platform.      

Al-Manar: Blunt mouthpiece of Hezbollah since its creation in 1991, it contributes to the party’s propaganda across the Shia regions in Lebanon and Syria, with a clear agenda of glorifying its regional interests while denouncing Israel, Saudi Arabia and the US policy in the Middle East.  One important feature lines in their daily monitoring of Israeli newspapers, providing reports from inside that are hard to find on any other local channel. Its audience is implicitly unique, conservative Muslim Shias located in Beirut suburb, Bekaa Valley, and South Lebanon.    

Future TV (FTV): The pure contradiction of Al-Manar, this channel is the first advocate of prime minister Saad Hariri, Future movement and the interests of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Lebanon. It openly criticizes any topic that could ridicule or point the finger at Iran, Hezbollah, and Bashar Al-Assad; with the main target to reach Muslim Sunnis across Lebanon and the Arab region and reveal the truth behind the assassination of late prime minister Rafik Hariri (sic).

Al-Jadeed (New TV): Privately owned by shareholders, funded by Qatar and without any clear political affiliations, the network is considered as a neutral entity criticizing every aspect of corruption in Lebanon. Its campaign exposing corruption and dilapidations in a series of reports and investigations made no change on the overall Lebanese life; as most of them were based on assumptions or unverified sources. Such practice not only positioned Al-Jadeed as a hard number in the rating race along with MTV and LBC, but it attracted trouble with Amal party and Nabih Berri supporters who protested and caused substantial material damage to the station.

 

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