Dr Maria Study ENG

Incentives for Startup Media Companies

“Incentives for Media Startups in Lebanon amid the Turmoil: Challenges and Opportunities” a study prepared by Dr. Maria Bou Zeid, addressed the key factors influencing the emergence of the media sector in Lebanon and presented the legal challenges facing media initiatives, as well as the financial and banking challenges since 2019. According to the study, the entrepreneurial scene in the media field has receded to the point of halting due to the multiple crises that have afflicted the country since 2019, starting from the COVID-19 pandemic to the Beirut port explosion and financial crises. The recent financial crisis has added an additional layer of difficulties to those that already existed, such as limited access to technical talents, political instability, and the limited size of Lebanese markets.



This study provides an analysis of the consequences of these challenges on independent media outlets and proposes potential measures to enhance a more dynamic innovative ecosystem. Lebanon can create an environment conducive to the flourishing of startup companies and their contribution to achieving a diverse and vibrant media environment by lifting restrictions and providing incentives.


The study concluded the necessity of adopting modern media laws and providing constructive incentives to enhance the sustainability of media companies. This includes measures such as tax exemptions, streamlining administrative procedures, and reducing disruptions caused by disturbances in public administrations. Additionally, there is a call to enhance the effectiveness of incubators, accelerators, and investment funds, with an emphasis on strengthening programs geared towards media within these entities.


To access Dr. Maria Bou Zeid's study:

Incentives for Media Startups in Lebanon amid the Turmoil: Challenges and Opportunities


“Public interest journalism startups in Europe: trends, players, challenges and incentives” a study prepared by European expert Attila Mong from the European Media and Journalism Research Center, addressed the European experience in the field of emerging media institutions and how the media environment has evolved in recent years. It presented the difficulties facing these initiatives due to difficult economic conditions, although technological advancement positively contributes to these initiatives by changing audience consumption habits for media content. Additionally, public interest journalism is declining due to funding crises and the public's tendency towards free media, along with a general decline in media freedoms.


This study presented recommendations regarding incentives that could serve as a source of inspiration for initiatives in the Lebanese context. Among the most prominent recommendations are encouraging the establishment of new companies and removing barriers to market entry, introducing indirect financing methods through incentives and financial support such as tax exemptions and reduced value-added tax for media products, along with reductions in social security contributions. Facilitating access for startups to financing provided by local and international donor agencies and enacting legislation prioritizing ownership transparency to increase trust in media outlets linked to the public interest and enhance competition rules.


To access Attila Mong's study:

Public interest journalism startups in Europe: trends, players, challenges and incentives


The findings of both studies conducted by Dr. Maria Bou Zeid and Attila Mong, as well as the conclusions of the seminar organized by Maharat Foundation on September 5th regarding the incentives that may contribute to enhancing the sustainability of media companies and independent media platforms, were relied upon. This was conducted to prepare a standards setting document summarizing best practices regarding areas related to incentives for startup media companies.


The document included recommendations to the authorities to create a conducive environment for media initiatives, such as updating laws, facilitating administrative procedures, and activating the judiciary. It also recommended developing information technology infrastructure to meet the needs of startup enterprises and establishing a specialized regulatory body to manage the media sector in all its forms.


Furthermore, recommendations were made to the media sector to integrate entrepreneurship education into media colleges, establish incubators for startup projects, encourage new initiatives, and organize student activities and competitions to help discover and develop new talents and enhance a culture of creativity. Additionally, it suggested adapting to emerging trends and technologies to respond to changing audience needs.


To the international community, it called for building partnerships with foreign media outlets, international platforms, global advertising companies, and reaching out to the Lebanese diaspora worldwide.


To access the standards setting document on "Incentives for Startup Media Companies", click here


These studies are part of the media reform studies series under the Academic Exchange Program between Maharat foundation and Media and Journalism Research Center, as part of the "Media Reform to Enhance Freedom of Expression in Lebanon" project in collaboration with Legal Agenda and Media and Journalism Research Center,  with the support of the European Union.