DW Akademie is creating a platform for dialogue between different social groups in Lebanon, especially between refugees and young people.
Lebanon's media laws are considered to be relatively liberal, especially compared to those of neighboring countries. The media landscape reflects the country's rich ethnic and religious diversity. However, the media tend to be used as the mouthpiece of individual political and religious leaders or parties, and are often misappropriated by spreading propaganda and encouraging discrimination. This situation is exacerbated by interconfessional and political tensions. Meanwhile, the approximately one million Syrian refugees who have sought shelter in the small country are barely represented in the press.
Working under the shadow of the Syrian conflict, journalists are repeatedly subjected to threats and violence. Social media networks are dominated by aggressive language. Cyberbullying and hate speech are part of the dark side of global communication, providing an ideal breeding ground for physical violence. Extremist ideologies find a platform to spread their messages here, unfettered by the checks and balances of an open societal debate. Nonetheless, a strong civil society that uses blogs and social media makes its voice heard.
DW Akademie is developing an arena of dialogue between the different social groups in Lebanon, especially between refugees and young people. One focal point is providing technical support to the community platform Campji, which lends the refugees a voice within their communities and in the outside world.
Furthermore, DW Akademie promotes a sustainable digital media landscape in the region. Together with the Lebanese NGO Maharat Foundation, it founded what is known as the Digital Media Viability Lab. The aim is to strengthen innovative media in the Arab world. Together with its partner organization, DW Akademie trains media consultants from Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon. They help independent - usually digital media - initiatives develop sustainable business models. International conferences complement the activities. The project promotes the economic viability of quality media.
In another DW Akademie project, which is funded by the European Union, the focus is on strengthening information literacy among students and young adults in Lebanon. A project run together with the Jesus and Mary School, the NGO Permanent Peace Movement and the Media and Digital Literacy Academy of Beirut (MDLAB) teaches young people how to detect fake news on the internet and respond to it in a responsible manner. The project partners develop materials and programs to foster critical media use.
Funding: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), European Union (EU)
Country coordinator: Sandra van Edig
Operational locations: Beirut, Bekaa, Mount Lebanon, North-Lebanon
Local partners: Maharat Foundation, Jesus and Mary School Permanent Peace Movement, Media and Digital Literacy Academy of Beirut (MDLAB) at the Lebanese American University
Main Focus: Civic engagement, access to information, capacity building, professionalization, media viability, media and information literacy