Media and disability in Lebanon

Lebanon is characterised by a politically polarized media, closely associated with political parties and a plurality of media, representing the diversity of political and sectarian interests. This has meant that little media attention (mainly within broadcast media) has been given to social and community issues including disability and the right of persons with disability to full inclusion in aspects of daily life from education to employment. Studies have shown that the time and space given to discuss social issues including matters concerning children, women and people with disabilities do not exceed 1.7 to 2.8% of the overall print space or broadcast transmission.  The models that mostly dominated the way Lebanese media tackle disability and people with disabilities have been either the ‘medical model’ or the ‘charity model’.  As Goggin (2009) put it in his paper on ‘Disability, Media and the Politics of Vulnerability’ published in  Asia Pacific Media Educator journal ‘Underlying the charity’ approach is the sense that disability is a tragedy and that people with disability need to be looked after or helped as they lack the resources, ability or power to survive independently. The powerful (journalists, media) needs to be nice to the powerless (people with disabilities).