The Institute of Media Research and Training (IMRT) at the Lebanese American University (LAU) is an interdisciplinary center for media research, training, production and advocacy. It aims to produce and transmit scientific knowledge and media content that examines how media and digital communication systems shape and are shaped by local and regional politics, economics, and cultures; to develop media literacy curricula and programs and offer academic and professional training that advances media education in the region; and to advocate for ethical, professional, and equitable communication laws and practices and a free media environment. The institute builds on media literacy theory that aims to empower citizens with creative and critical thinking skills and digital competencies that help them become civically engaged global citizens capable of innovatively harnessing the power of media technologies to advance human rights, peace, and social justice.
(1) To conduct, present, and publish multidisciplinary action-oriented research situated at the intersection of media literacy theory and current Arab media and society issues.
(2) To develop, promote, and diffuse digital and media literacy education among Arab universities and schools, and promote its importance in advancing human rights, peace, and social justice.
(3) To train a generation of students, university instructors, and school teachers on media literacy theory and practice and empower them to become agents of social change.
(4) To advocate for just, inclusive, emancipatory and egalitarian laws and practices that affect and are affected by media and communication systems and institutions.
(5) To develop media literacy-based educational programs and content that encourage intercultural encounters and promote global citizenship, civic engagement, and participatory cultures.
(6) To establish a hub for a network of regional and international universities and media educators and activists rotating around the development and promotion of Arab digital and media literacy.
(7) To fundraise for research, educational and advocacy projects that serve the institute’s mission.
IMRT currently has four programs:
(1) The Media and Digital Literacy program focuses on the promotion of media and digital literacy education in the Arab region, through training a generation of educators, trainers and activists and developing locally rooted curricula and training manuals.
(2) The Media and Gender program focuses on producing research that investigates the representation of gender in Arab media, the obstacles and limitations to the advancement of women in media careers, and the relationship between Arab media and gender. This program also delves into training, teaching, advocacy and activism work that aims to empower women journalists and media practitioners and create a legally enabling environment for them at work and in their communities.
(3) The Media and War program covers a broad area of research that situates media research within the context of Arab wars, conflicts and politics. It includes researching the relationship between media and terrorism, the media uses of non-state actors and guerilla groups, and the framing of war and conflict.
(4) The 99%Media program offers media training and high quality yet inexpensive production services to academics, activists and non-profit organizations who can't afford such services from for-profit production companies. 99%Media also aims to produce activist and advocacy oriented documentary films and content that highlight important causes related to IMRT's other programs and priorities.