Syrian refugees stand on muddy ground at a refugee camp in Zahle in the Bekaa valley November 27, 2014. REUTERS/ Jamal Saidi
The press in distress
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A recent uptick in misleading news reports related to the Syrian refugee crisis is the result of propaganda campaigns, Lebanon's minister of state for refugee affairs has said, while experts suggest a possible link to the upcoming parliamentary elections.Merehbi noted that false information was appearing in the media more frequently than usual.In the last week, Lebanese media outlets published a widely circulated article claiming that 300,000 refugees were pregnant. Another Lebanese news report claimed that a "high proportion" of crimes in Lebanon were committed by Syrians, but did not provide any figures for crimes committed by Syrian or Lebanese nationals.Over 1 million Syrian refugees are currently registered with the U.N. refugee agency in Lebanon, but the government has estimated figures closer to 1.5 million.Melki added that reporting the Syrian crisis in the Lebanese media was a particularly "thorny" issue for political parties.Dana Sleiman, spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, confirmed to The Daily Star that inaccurate reports in the media about the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon were nothing new.
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