Bekaa Reporters Meet the “Journalists’ Pact for Strengthening Civil Peace in Lebanon”

 

Gathered in Anjar Municipality, Bekaa, local reporters and journalists coming from the Bekaa region discussed the clauses of the “Journalists’ Pact for Strengthening Civil Peace in Lebanon”. They also debated over the main challenges they face in their everyday missions in the field. The meeting was organized by Maharat Foundation in partnership with the UNDP “Peace Building in Lebanon” project on May 24th, 2017 with the generous funds of KfW.

This is the forth meeting after the ones held in Tripoli in July 2016, in Saida in December 2016 and in Akkar in January 2017.This series of meetings aimed at introducing the Pact to media personnel and local reporters and advocating for a conflict sensitive reporting.

The Pact was signed by 34 media institutions in 2013 and was drawn up based on the input of the media outlet. It reaffirms the Lebanese media’s leading role in rejecting discrimination and promoting civil peace and covers media ethics, duties of journalists and media institutions.

Holding a copy of the Pact, Annahar journalist, Danielle Khayyat, was surprised that she wasn’t introduced to the Pact before this meeting. “I can relate to most of the clauses mentioned here”, she said.

Journalists tackled the most challenging issues they are grappling with, such as time constrains, funding, social media trends impeding quality content, etc. The discussion drew attention to the urgent need to highlight the community-based approach to media reporting.

Commenting on the impact of social media and citizen journalism on traditional media, the owner of a community-TV from Zahle said that “journalism is struggling for survival in this new media age”.

“Institutions we are working in often ask us for a picture that can make the audience cry”, said one local journalist, while another added that “we are barely being able to swoop in and provide a one minute story nowadays while in the past we used to take our time to offer quality content and investigative reports”.