MANGOJAM STUDIO FZ LLC Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
IMPACT BBDO Beirut, LEBANON
Cultural / Context information for the jury
As Lebanon was going through a historically critical financial crisis, with necessities getting scarcer every day, an absurd shortage of the ink and paper needed to print ballots threatened a decisive election.
An-Nahar, the leading newspaper driven to defend the country’s fragile democracy, decided not to print on February 2nd. People walked up to the newsstands to find empty racks, carrying nothing but a single message: The ink and paper intended for today’s issue was donated to the printing of voting ballots for the 2022 election. The empty newsstands filled the country, symbolizing the fight to safeguard democracy.
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Lebanon has long prided itself on being one of the few democracies in the Arab world. However, it is home to a fragile and manipulable one that has needed protection over the years. As the country anticipated the 2022 election, we saw the cornerstone of our democracy being threatened right before our eyes.
An-Nahar had always outspokenly stood up for the rights of the Lebanese people and paid the ultimate sacrifice for the sanctity of free speech. It would not, at any cost, quietly condone the sabotaging of rightful elections.
How could we save democracy when all we own is the power of ink and paper? This time, we saw an opportunity for our supplies themselves, rather than our words, to brighten our democracy’s grim prospects. We would go paperless so the people can remain voiceful. On February 2nd, we were not saving ink and paper, we were saving democracy.