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Enhancing Business Community Relations,LBCI Case Study. January 2003,1 Introduction, Based on a series of interviews held as part of the UNDP UNV Enhancing Business Community. Relations project research findings identified limited time and money to be among the major reasons. behind lack of corporate involvement in the Lebanese community According to many corporations. that were interviewed the current difficult economical situation has caused a challenge for them to. cope and sustain resources As a result caring for the community was not one of the highest rated. priorities in many companies, Apart from the above mentioned challenge the media sector has been facing another different. challenge one revolving around transparency and accountability Recently this sector has been. under attack by the public and by officials due to practices and reporting that have been perceived as. unethical and or unprofessional According to the Middle East and North Africa Centre for Media. Freedom publication on the Media Environment in Lebanon a wide range of political controls born. out of a mixture of family and confessional loyalties and big business interests have been exerted on. the media1, Despite all the above mentioned challenges the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International. LBCI has been able to maintain its position as the leading TV station and the most widely preferred. for both news and entertainment nationwide 2 LBCI makes an interesting case study mainly because. it provides examples of some powerful stories that were told and that helped mobilize funds that. were later contributed to the community Another reason why this study was chosen was because it. portrays how a company can maintain its community spirit throughout difficulties such as war and. restructuring,2 LBCI s organizational profile, The Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation LBC was launched over the airwaves of Lebanon on 23.
August 1985 Despite the many challenges the company faced during the war the LBC team. remained firm and never went off the air3 With the end of the civil war in Lebanon exciting new. opportunities arose for the newly renamed LBC International LBCI The purely Lebanese private. media agency has been determined to grow and reach a large audience of consumers not only in. Lebanon but also in the Arab speaking public worldwide The company which is known as the. leading TV station in Lebanon4 employs on average 420 permanent and 250 seasonal employees in. Lebanon Outside the country LBCI has a wide range of networks and affiliated reporters. With continuous growth in the LBCI s corporate plan LBCSAT which includes one free to air and. three encrypted channels LBC Europe LBC America and LBC Australia5 was developed After. confronting and overcoming years of difficulties LBCI now faces a challenge of another kind as it. consolidates its resources both human and material and prepares to take a quantum leap forward. Media Environment in Lebanon Center for Media Freedom Middle East and North Africa 1998. Media Environment in Lebanon Center for Media Freedom Middle East and North Africa 1998. www lbci com lb history, Media Environment in Lebanon Centre for Media Freedom Middle East and North Africa 1998. www lbci com lb history, Property of UNDP UNV and the New Academy of Business. The views expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect those of UNV UNDP or the New Academy of Business 1. Enhancing Business Community Relations,LBCI Case Study. January 2003, into the future of national and international communication based on enhanced transparency and. accountability 6,3 LBC s Community Involvement, LBCI s commitment to the community springs from its strong conviction that supporting community.
initiatives is a mandatory responsibility in which a corporation s resources should be used As a. result the company has been involved in various social. causes and philanthropic giving since its establishment in Supporting the community is not. 1985 7 Community initiatives vary from cash and in kind an option but a mandatory. donations to raising funds from external sources They also responsibility that should be. extend to sharing information such as statistics and contacts taken very seriously. with thousands of viewers Reaching out to vast audiences. LBCI has created shows that combine philanthropic efforts Ms Janane Mallat. fundraising awareness and the sharing of statistics Shows Producer LBCI. such Al Shater Yihki Greed Wakif Taellak and others. have entertained and warmed the hearts of audiences for. As a result of the above mentioned community initiatives and LBCI s coverage of such issues in. 1997 it was awarded the UNDP Media Award for Sustainable Human Development in the Television. category for the Al Shater Yihki show The social oriented show which ran for a three year period. until 2000 featured various controversial social medical and religious issues such as domestic. violence the environment aids divorce cohabitation before marriage child labor rape. homosexuality and human rights Such shows demonstrate the power that the media possesses in. orienting the public into finding solutions to deep rooted and un addressed problems. 3 1 Cash In Kind Donations, Every year LBCI financially contributes to various shows such as Greed and Wakif Taellak In. 2001 around the Ramadan and Christmas holiday season LBCI dedicated four episodes of the. show Greed to charity giving On these occasions LBCI agreed with the show s contestants that. all funds they may win will be donated to NGOs Altogether a total of USD 100 000 was. donated to various NGOs such as SOS Village Mouvement Social and Red Cross A similar. approach was used for the Wakif Taellak show where LBCI not only made a lot of financial. contributions to assist its participants but also made additional effort to raise funds for the show. from other institutions More information on this is addressed in the following section. As for the company s in kind donations this involves providing NGOs with free airtime to display. their Public Service Announcement PSAs NGOs are encouraged to develop their own. announcements covering a wide range of social issues that can eventually result in a positive. outcome in the community Most NGOs bring their own clips however in a few cases LBCI has. used their own production to develop some very powerful and touching spots These. announcements are then broadcasted during a peak hour which provides substantive coverage. of humanitarian issues to LBCI s vast audience,www lbci com lb history. Enhancing Business Community Relations Questionnaire. Property of UNDP UNV and the New Academy of Business. The views expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect those of UNV UNDP or the New Academy of Business 2. Enhancing Business Community Relations,LBCI Case Study. January 2003,3 2 Fundraising, As mentioned in the introduction of this case study apart form providing cash and in kind. donations one of the ways LBCI is able to help its community is through fundraising Every New. Year the company produces a special episode of the show Wakif Taellak To mark the new. year of 2001 2002 LBCI decided to dedicate a special episode to a man who was rendered. disabled after an accident The incident had a negative impact on his life including lack of ability to. find employment loss of easy mobility loss of social support etc LBCI focused its efforts on. providing this individual with as much help as possible to overcome his many challenges. LBCI mobilized other companies such as SNA Bank Audi and Exotica to help transform this. gentleman and his fianc s life Each of the sponsors contributed in their own way Bank Audi. offered the patient a home and a job Exotica the landscaping of the home and SNA s offered the. medical operation to heal the patient s disability and allow him to walk The process was. broadcasted on New Year s and due to its popularity and demand was re played a week after. Viewed by thousands the episode portrayed the importance human rights among them. employing disabled individuals, Apart from raising funds for the Wakif Taellak show LBCI has also been actively involved in.
raising funds to purchase gifts that are later given to needy children and people on special. occasions and feasts This is sometimes topped up with the help of sponsors that donate in kind. products for LBCI to give away In return these companies are provided with visibility on air For. example some of the gifts that have been donated include a vacation package to World Disney. computers TVs bicycles watches etc, Finally one thing LBCI has done in this domain is to assist NGOs themselves to raise funds for. their own causes For example as mentioned in the in kind donation section 3 1 in one case. LBCI had developed a documentary in a very touching manner that encouraged institutions and. individuals to contribute to the cause This documentary was broadcasted in a very big event that. was organized by the NGO and attended by many of the country s most prominent individuals that. were able to provide a lot of contributions and support. 3 3 Awareness and Information sharing, LBCI has touched and changed the lives of many people By generating awareness of. within Lebanese society through their efficient and important social issues LBCI has. effective awareness campaigns While shows such as helped the community help itself. Wakif Taellak may financially benefit only a few, individuals they provide an even greater impact to the Mr Antoine Karam. community through the support that hundreds of callers Personnel Manager. offer off screen as a result of viewing the show For. example in the case of the above mentioned Wakif, Taellak s New Year s episode many viewers called after the show and offered their services. Furthermore by generating awareness of important social issues LBCI has helped the. community help itself The key here is that the message was transmitted to the public about the. Property of UNDP UNV and the New Academy of Business. The views expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect those of UNV UNDP or the New Academy of Business 3. Enhancing Business Community Relations,LBCI Case Study.
January 2003, many rights of disabled people such as the right to employment education a home and a normal. living thus providing enhanced understanding and hopefully less ignorance. Another similar example is the significant amount of awareness that was generated through the. Al Shater Yehki show which allowed individuals to release personal hidden issues It also. allowed for so much misunderstanding and misconception that is taken for granted as a. stereotype among most of the Lebanese people to be displayed and clarified Secrets statistics. and research about social issues such as incest sexually transmitted diseases human rights etc. allowed the public for once to know and hear the truth rather than building concepts and ideas on. assumed stereotypes The outcome A multiplier effect where the positive impact is not only. experienced by the individual being helped but many other people the viewers the people who. call after the show for help and even the participating NGOs that try to bring light to the cause In. other words it s not only about helping an individual but it s about helping and supporting a cause. 4 Challenges faced, Apart from all the challenges that LBCI faced during the war related to the heavy targeted shelling. which raged uninterruptedly for six months8 they also faced other challenges related to reporting A. few year s back LBCI faced such a challenge where an episode on the Al Shater Yehki about incest. stimulated a heated controversy drawing criticism from cabinet members religious authorities and. the press but also support from its huge audience Those who opposed the show felt that not only it. undermined society s values but had a negative impact on the economy especially since. programmes such as this are broadcast on satellite. which will cause the greatest losses to Lebanon 9,It can be difficult to work with NGOs at. LBC defended its position by saying that such shows. times because they want visibility and, are critical for the Lebanese public in order to ensure. at the end of the day with 30 000 NGOs,that those facing such problems or who may some.
10 in Lebanon the media cannot fulfill the,day know where to go for help. demands and wishes of all 1, Another obstacle that has thwarted LBCI s attempts at. Ms Janane Mallat, broaching important social concerns centers around. Producer LBCI, external intervention from the public NGOs and the. government According to Ms Mallat LBCI s producer, some NGOs place barriers between themselves and the people they take care of This barrier of.
fear tends to hinder the swift progression of community initiated projects This was clearly. demonstrated in several of the episodes from Al Shater Yihki show where topics such as prostitution. didn t find any witnesses because some NGOs dealing with the issue were embarrassed to let their. patients appear on the show 11 Ms Mallat believes that there are problems among the Lebanese. society about the way they perceive the media s role in solving community related problems They. look to us the media to solve their problems instead of looking to us as means to transmit their. message to the public Most NGOs have no clue on how to deal with the media . This case study is one of ten that were chosen as part of the Enhancing Business Community Relations Project The purpose of this study is to document successful experiences as learning tools in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility in Lebanon The Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International LBCI was chosen as a case study due to its demonstration of how a private corporation and

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