Comparative Readings of the Lebanese Media System
The focus of this dissertation is on the Lebanese media system and the extent this system can be subsumed under one of the three ideal types put forth by Daniel Hallin and Paolo Mancini in their seminal work Comparing Media Systems. This endeavour uses the Hallin and Mancini framework as a scholarly springboard in an effort to take their sets of variables and models beyond the established democracies of Europe and North America. This research responds to a recurring call for comparative work and particularly for the application of the Hallin and Mancini framework on other non-Western media systems. By critically applying their framework to the Lebanese media system, this thesis assesses the complex dimensions developed by the two scholars. These include: the development of media markets, political parallelism, the degree of development of journalistic professionalism and the degree and nature of state intervention. Hallin and Mancini acknowledge that restricting themselves to the western world was a limitation. They also suggest that their work should serve as an inspiration for a process of re-modelling by adapting and reconfiguring their framework and their three ideal types to a given context. This study does just that by amending the sub-indicators, identifying salient factors and suggesting a new model that better suits the Lebanese media system and potentially similar systems. Following an introduction outlining the research aims and surveying the available literature, Chapter 2 discusses the theoretical framework of the study ranging from the Hallin and Mancini framework and relevant communication as well as political and state theories. In order to present the social, political and historical context of this analysis the precarious political system of Lebanon and its recent history are also discussed in this chapter. This is followed by the methodological outline of the study discussing the collection of empirical data from the 63 research interviews conducted for this thesis. Furthermore, it surveys the available quantitative and qualitative data gleaned and analysed in this work. The assessment of the Lebanese media system follows in Chapter 4, where Hallin and Mancini’s theoretical framework is critically applied. Chapter 5 discusses the amended and adapted sub-dimensions and presents a series of salient factors that have emerged as vital. Finally, Chapter 5 culminates in the suggestion of the CriSPP Model (Crisis-prone, small, Polarised Pluralist Model) – a variation on the Polarised Pluralist or Mediterranean Model, one of Hallin and Mancini’s three ideal types. The CriSPP Model emphasises the salient factors of crisis as well as the small state, which significantly influence the Lebanese media system. The final Chapter 6 concludes with suggestions for further research including the proposal of similar media systems that may fit the CriSPP model.
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