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SKeyes Statements | Lebanon

SKeyes and MESP Discuss Oil and Gas with L’Orient-Le Jour Journalists
July 17, 2017
The SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom and Middle East Strategic Perspectives (MESP) have been cooperating to promote better reporting of oil and gas issues in the Lebanese press. On Friday July 7, a SKeyes team and MESP’s Mona Sukkarieh held a day long briefing roundtable at L’Orient-Le Jour headquarters. Oil and gas issues have attracted considerable attention in the last few years, with studies suggesting potentially significant amounts of natural resources in the limits of Lebanon’s – disputed – Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Ayman Mhanna, director of SKeyes, opened the briefing session by underlining the role of SKeyes in “supporting journalists at all levels, providing them with the information and skills necessary in order to improve the quality of reporting in the Levant region.” Mona Sukkarieh then took the stage and presented the latest developments in the oil and gas sector in Lebanon. She focused on the role of journalists to cover the upcoming licensing process and their contribution to transparency in the sector. “We don’t only want numbers,” said Sukkarieh; “there is a need for a coverage that goes deeper and provides the reader with a holistic understanding of the process and its geopolitical stakes.”
Sukkarieh also shed light on recent developments in Cyprus and Israel, the two main players in the oil and gas sector of the Levantine basin. Their examples can provide the Lebanese audience with useful insight on how the licensing process will develop. She also reminded the audience of the reasons behind the maritime dispute between Lebanon and Israel.
Mhanna and Sukkarieh also presented the results of SKeyes’ media monitoring reports for 2014 and 2016, and commended L’Orient-Le Jour’s significant improvement, in terms of accuracy, sources and type of coverage.
The briefing session ended with a presentation of the LOG&Learn application for iOS and Android smartphones, which SKeyes launched in cooperation with MESPA and the Lebanese Oil and Gas Initiative (LOGI). LOG&Learn can be used by journalists and the general to fact-check politicians’ statements and get information on the sector.