(My Middle East)

77 days with a journalist, Lebanon, and a list of non sequiturs

Posts Tagged ‘UNDP

2 Stories: Lebanon Drug Addiction | Foreign Influence

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I had a story in The Daily Star today about an NGO, Skoun, that helps treat drug addicts and lobbies the government for more treatment and less jail time for addicts. NGOs really fill a huge gap in civil society. I’ve covered events by about a dozen so far and its really interesting to see how prevalent they are. One one hand its a good thing to provide all these services, but on the other it makes people dependent on other countries organizations and individual donors besides the state.
My story in the paper yesterday was on a UNDP report with a section on foreign influence in Lebanon. It was some of the harshest language that I’ve read about the foreign patronage, and especially suprising coming from the UN. Unfortunately it didn’t have a newspeg, but hey you gata fill the paper I guess.

The foreign influence really gets understated, particularly by people with an agenda. You hear people talk about the “Western backed” March 14 coalition (like in my story, not my choice) but really that should read something like “Saudi backed” because of the  hundreds of millions of dollars the Saudis possibly used to leverage the campaign. But as usual the truth can’t be summed up into one or two words. Parties that joined either March 8 and 14 had diverse reasons for doing so that reflect local, national, regional and global pressures that are difficult to encapsulate in a phrase.

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Written by stephenddockery

July 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Story on politicized journalism in Lebanon

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Reporters at the first day of the AFP workshop

Reporters at the first day of the AFP workshop | Lana Captan Ghandour

_ I had a story today in The Daily Star on the politicized Journalism in Lebanon and AFP workshops to promote objectivity.

Of all the countries in the Middle East Lebanon has one of the most free media environments. It’s notoriously weak government can hardly keep the country stable let alone have time to censor journalism. In Reporters without Borders press freedom index Lebanon is beat only by Cyprus for press freedoms in the Middle East, also check out the U.S. ranking of 36. (Although it should also be noted that the situation hasn’t always been that way, anti-Syrian occupation journalists have been intimidated and killed in the past and during war times internal journalism was very difficult)

Despite the current free press ranking the media in Lebanon is firecly political and exacerbates the already unstable poliotical scene. The Agence France Presse and UNDP is holding workshops that has reporters from opposite political spectrum working together to promote objectivity, which was the news peg to my story.

The conference itself was very cool, there were journalists from the Hezbollah TV station Al-Manar working with journalists from Saad Hariri’s Future TV and LBC. People had really intense debates about journalism but got along really well despite that. I talked to people from Al-Manar LBC and even a reporter from a Lebanese Communist owned radio station called Sawt al-Shab (voice of the people), it was great to see such different people getting along so well.

Oh and a major plus was the workshop was ran by Robert Holloway who is director of the AFP Foundation. Holloway is also a pretty big deal as an international correspondent. Also running the workshop was Najib Ben Cherif from Al Arabia, Saad Hattar from BBC radio Jordan and Joseph Badaoui from AFP Cyprus.

Written by stephenddockery

July 8, 2009 at 12:50 pm