Media Monitoring Report: Analyzing News about Migrant Workers in Lebanon

Executive Summary

This media monitoring report analyzes news about migrant workers in Lebanon. The report focused on analyzing how workers under the Kafala system are underrepresented and misrepresented in the Lebanese news media.

The methods used in this report include both quantitative and qualitative content analysis of news published by Lebanese magazines, news agencies, TV stations, newspapers, and news websites. The report focuses on news stories collected from January 2020 until September 2021, with a sample size of 197 headlines (152 in Arabic and 45 in English) for quantitative analysis and a sample size of 18 news reports (13 in Arabic and 5 in English) for qualitative analysis.

The findings of the quantitative analysis showed that the overall news coverage of migrant workers in Lebanon has dropped by half, yet the headlines over time are getting more negative. The analysis also found, news in Arabic presented a near equal number of headlines that were negative, positive, and neutral towards migrant workers. Meanwhile, 60% of English headlines were positive. NGO and feminist media had zero negative headlines. Newspapers and news websites published a near equal amount of positive and negative headlines, news agencies published an equal amount of neutral and positive headlines, and the majority of headlines coded from TV stations and magazines were positive.

The findings of the more in-depth qualitative content analysis showed that almost all of the news reports published by newspapers and news websites did not quote migrant workers concerning the news being reported. In addition, the analysis found that many of the news articles reproduced xenophobic, racist, and/or gendered stereotypes in their coverage, even when the news report was written from a positive bias towards migrant workers.

The research findings informed nine practical recommendations to improve the representation of migrant workers in Lebanese news media. These recommendations advised journalists to quote migrant community members as one mechanism to advance more fair and accurate portrayals. This study concludes that better news media practices are needed to promote and achieve the communication rights of migrants in Lebanon.

Primary Investigator

Gretchen King, Ph.D., is director of pedagogy and curriculum design at the Institute of Media Research and Training, and assistant professor of communication and multimedia journalism at the Lebanese American University (LAU).


  • Zayna Ayyad is a research assistant and Master’s student in Multimedia Journalism at the Lebanese American University (LAU).
  • Farah Saati is a research assistant and Master’s student in Multimedia Journalism at the Lebanese American University (LAU).

Funding and Support

This research was made possible through funding made available by the Migration and Communication Rights program at WACC.


This IMRT publication is fully open access. It is available online to all users immediately upon publication. Non-commercial use and distribution in any medium are permitted, provided the authors and the institution are properly credited. For citation and reference:

King, Gretchen; Ayyad, Zayna; Saati, Farah; and the Anti-Racist Movement - Lebanon (2022). Media Monitoring Report: Analyzing News about Migrant Workers in Lebanon. Media/Digital Literacy Program. Institute of Media Research and Training, Volume 1, Issue 1, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon.

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