In Lebanon, DW Akademie supports dialogue formats as well as alternative independent media that are financially sustainable and committed to topics of public interest.
Since 2019, Lebanon has faced the hardest political and economic challenges in its history. The pandemic and 2020 Beirut harbor explosion have added to the plight. Forty percent of the population is unemployed, businesses have had to close, and with the bank crisis people can often not access their savings. Those living in the country’s northern and eastern marginalized provinces have been particularly hard hit, leading to fights over goods and increased violence and polarization.
The media sector has also been affected. Given inflation, an unreliable electricity supply and weak Internet connections, journalists cannot produce work as they had prior to 2019. Various mainstream and alternative media outlets have had to shut down or let staff go, resulting in fewer reports on marginalized groups or rural areas. Although Lebanon's media laws are seen as relatively liberal, especially compared to those of neighboring countries, state agencies and political parties restrict the work of media professionals and outlets.
DW Akademie’s projects in Lebanon focus on independent alternative media in the country's northern and eastern marginalized regions. It has worked with the Lebanese non-governmental organization (NGO) Maharat Foundation since 2017 and has developed a solid business strategy with its Digital Media Viability Lab, a unique program in the region. The foundation is a key player in financial viability training for alternative media, conducts workshops on quality journalism and provides limited funding to selected alternative media outlets.
Together with Utopia, a Lebanese NGO, DW Akademie promotes on site and digital dialogue formats to create safe spaces for peaceful exchanges and discussions. Local media, citizen journalists and other NGOs can apply these tools to reduce tensions, foster social cohesion and build more peaceful communities. DW Akademie opened its office in Beirut in 2019.
Funding: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Program Director: Mona Naggar
Locations: Beirut, Tripoli, Bekaa, Mount Lebanon
Main Focus: Social dialogue, access to information, capacity building, professionalization, journalism training , media viability