“Comparative experiences from the world on the role of media in promoting peace and social stability: Regulations and Models”
The EJN’s board member Zahera Harb participated in a workshop organised by UNDP Peace Building Program and Maharat Foundation on March 21 and 22, 2017 that brought together experts, media executives and international organisations that have technical, practical and legal expertise in media regulation in pluralistic democratic yet divided societies.
The two day workshop shared comparative and diverse international experiences that will be compiled into a policy paper that will help in developing the framework of media regulation in Lebanon.
“Journalists’ Pact for Strengthening Civil Peace in Lebanon”
The “Journalists’ Pact for Strengthening Civil Peace in Lebanon” was launched in 2013 through a UNDP “Peace Building Program” initiative and with the active participation of 32 media executives from different outlets, along with the ministry of information and the National Audio Visual Council. The pact opened the debate on the importance of adopting ethical and professional standards by the media institutions to promote a responsible media coverage that contributes in promoting civil peace and social stability. The appliance of the clauses by the media was assessed through a series of media monitoring studies that were conducted by Maharat Foundation and UNDP in the past two years.
The media can play an important role in peace building and social stability or they can contribute in destabilisation, especially in deeply divided communities towards many fundamental issues such as refugees today, or in societies still struggling after civil war or communal and sectarian clashes and that are in process of reconciliation, as well as in societies that are seeking to build their model to manage diversity.
Media, democracy and pluralism
There are many experiences over the world related to the regulation of the media either in stable democratic countries or in pluralistic and divided societies who are building their democracy. In some cases, the states regulate the media landscape and introduce criteria and professional standards through regulatory bodies supervising the media work in the aim to serve the national interest and to maintain stability. In other cases, the media institutions themselves play a fundamental role in drafting rules and standards and setting base for self regulation mechanisms in the aim to serve media professionalism and social responsibility in covering news in a way that promotes diversity, peace and stability.
Lebanon constitutes an enriching and interesting experience where media institutions played a major role in building the public opinion at different stages, before and after the civil war, in the absence of self regulation mechanisms where professional and ethical standards can be set and in the absence of an efficient monitoring role from the state.