Today’s the World Press Freedom day, here’s the data for Lebanon.
Out of 180 countries in the world, Lebanon ranks 98th in the press freedom index (1st being the most free). This index in done yearly by the Reporters Without Borders.
Understandably, Lebanon is considered to be a country with “Noticeable problems” by the index and as “Partly free” from the Freedom House. In 2014, no Journalists or “Net-Person” were killed because of their activities. The good news is that the score of 2015 improved by 8 place. Lebanon ranked 106th in 2014, 101st in 2013 and 2012 (out of 178 countries for 2012 and 2013).
Lebanon is still very far from the good scores of 2008 and 2009. It ranked respectably 66th and 61st (out of 168 and 170 countries). We can see that the press freedom has fell down well before the war in Syria, so my theory is that the collapse of Hariri’s government might explain the fall of our rank.
Lebanon is well placed in the MENA region, placed 2nd behind Kuwait with a worldwide rank of 90th and before our not-so friendly neighbour Israel with a rank of 101. Lebanon is also the MENA country that made the biggest jump with 8 places, Tunisia jumped 7 places. Syria our other not-so friendly neighbour, ranks 177th, and is the least free country of the MENA region; an effect, of course of the war and the Assad regime censorship.
We are maybe well placed in the region, but the region is very badly placed in the world with a best rank of 90. The press isn’t only repressed from within or from conscious self-censorship, but from outside. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon, (STL), accuses the journalist Kharma Khayat and the channel al Jadeed of endangering supposed confidential witnesses by filming them for a report after learning of their identity from an anonymous leak. This is the first time that a TV station has been the subject of a prosecution by an international court.