Social Good Media 2012: Lebanon’s Meet up group promotes the role of social media and technologies in creating solutions to the Lebanese community
Over the past three years, the social Good Summit has become a place where leaders meet to discuss big ideas around new media and technologies can create solutions in our community.
This year UNDP and its partners (Mashable, 92nd Street Y, the United Nations Foundation, Ericsson) turned it to global conversation with people around the world joined in to share how media and technology can create solutions in their world.
UNDP Lebanon participated in the global conversation through organizing a meet up group on 24 September 2012. Sixty participants attended the meet up group where innovative technology experts, citizens, celebrities, and activists came together with one shared goal: to unlock the potential of new media and technology to make the world a better place.
The topics were decided based on the several discussions and meetings done with social media activists’ Key development speakers, media reporters, professors and youth.
The debate of the first topic which was presented by Mr. Khodor Salameh, Activist Blogger, focused on citizenship and peace building and the role of social media in promoting Human Rights and Citizen’s participation for conflict resolution and peace building. The religious system in Lebanon concretizes the domination on confessions and leads to the attraction of a large number of followers especially in the Media. Also the absence of a national project leads to a severe distribution of powers on various cultural and sectarian groups, media cannot take the role of political powers but it might help in developing the national project.
The participants expressed their views about the effective role of social Media which allows the citizens to express themselves and to play their roles as citizens in complete independence; Citizens reinforce themselves through their practices.
The second topic focused on the professional and Objective media which was presented by Ms .Tania Mehanna, Senior correspondent at LBCI. The debate focused on the role of media in electoral reform and how media can maintain democratic, transparent and free elections. The participants discussed Election is a right for every citizen, a right that must be preserved despite all circumstances and convictions. However how can we ensure this right for every citizen without any constraint? Therefore, it is very important to adopt a formula to improve the representation which leads to promote the citizen’s confidence in the institutions and his ability to influence them through the adoption of a just electoral law.
The electoral law cannot by itself lead to a real presentation but there are additional complimentary components that must be available such as respecting public freedoms (freedom of expression, freedom of gathering, freedom of belief, promoting citizenship).
The participants agreed that it is very important to activate the citizens ‘participation in the Media so that every citizen can be a witness in the events affecting the lives of other citizens, through awareness and capacity building.
They stressed on the interaction but not overlapping between traditional media and social media, especially with the increasing number of social media’s participants, which contribute to dialogue and information.
The last discussion centered on the contribution of the social media in empowering women which was presented by Dr. Ayman Itani , Digital Strategy Consultant and professor at the Lebanese American University.
Discussions focused on Inequality in women’s issues leads to direct prejudice against them but it is a loss for the society as a whole, therefore empowering women and setting the path for their participation is a main social task.
Participants agreed that changing the methodical image of women is a very crucial issue and therefore it is required to modify the traditional approach and to avoid transmitting male diseases through the internet. Also they have stressed on the role of social media to support women’s economic and political participation.
The closing discussions and recommendations of the three sessions were presented by Mr. Ziad Abdel-Samad, Executive Director Arab NGO’s network for Development. The main recommendations concentrated on:
1. Draft a new media law which leads to the elimination of sectarian domination on the media and releases it from the control of capitals
2. Form and develop the capacities of media professionals in a continuous manner
3. Reconsider the Media institutions and what can protect the media professionals, such as the cancellation of the ministry of information in addition to activating and reforming the syndicate of editors and press.
4. The law needed to organize social media must be completed through discussions and active participation among the relevant persons.
5. Activate the citizens ‘participation in the Media so that every citizen can be a witness in the events affecting the lives of other citizens, through awareness and capacity building.
6. Interaction but not overlapping between traditional media and social media, especially with the increasing number of social media’s participants, which contribute to dialogue and information
7. E-literacy for women working in suburban areas to get along with the professional benefit
8. Using the social media to support women’s economic and political participation