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Defending Freedom of Expression and Challenging the Press and Media  Laws in Lebanon: The Case of the Lebanese Political TV Satire Shows

Avner Asher, Dan Naor and Yossi Mann


Lebanon is among the most developed Arab countries concerning freedom of expression, and its press and media are famous for their openness and critical approach toward domestic and Arab affairs. The openness and criticism notwithstanding, there are various restrictions, not always formal ones, on the freedom of expression in Lebanon. While much has been written about Lebanese freedom of expression and media, few researches have concentrated on Lebanese political TV satire. This article aims to examine the limits of freedom of expression in Lebanon, as reflected in the various political TV satire shows. The article examined five satire shows: Basmat Watan, La Youmal, Ma Fi Metlo, Chi.N.N. and Awal ‘Ala Akhir. For each show, the article referred to three controversial issues: the attitude toward politics and politicians; the attitude toward Hezbollah and its weapons; and the attitude toward Lebanese presidents, foreign heads of states and Syria. Focusing on the different Lebanese TV satire shows and these contentious subjects reveals how these shows challenge the press and media laws, break taboos and even, to a certain degree, habituate the Lebanese audience to engage with controversial issues.

Keywords: TV satire, Lebanese media, Basmat Watan, La Youmal, Ma Fi Metlo, Chi.N.N., Awal ‘Ala Akhir

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pp. 388–409.