Lebanon’s oldest English-language daily newspaper folds amid country’s economic collapse
Lebanon’s Daily Star, one of the Arab world’s leading English-language newspapers and Lebanon’s oldest, has folded following a years-long financial struggle.
An email reviewed Tuesday by the Associated Press informed employees of the decision to lay off all staff as of Oct. 31.
The Daily Star is the latest among several Lebanese newspapers to stop printing in recent years in a struggle to compete with digital media. Lebanon’s current economic and financial crisis, its worst in 150 years, has only heightened the challenge.
Many news organizations have let go of employees and cut salaries, while others have closed down completely. The Daily Star has been struggling with finances for years.
Over the years, the paper was a training ground for many Lebanese and foreign journalists who went on to work in prominent media organizations in the region and beyond. News of its closure triggered an outpouring of tributes on social media.
The newspaper was founded in 1952 by Kamel Mrowa, who at the time was also the owner and editor in chief of the pan-Arab Al-Hayat newspaper. It was one of the first English-language newspapers in the Arab world, breaking news that included the defection of British intelligence mole Kim Philby to the Soviet Union in 1963.
Shortages of basic goods have hit Lebanon as its leaders do little to resolve a long-running currency crisis that has sparked despair and desperation.
The newspaper stopped printing during Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war, before relaunching in 1996.
In 2010, new investors led by former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri bought the paper, but the financial struggles continued. Often, staffers went for months without being paid.
The paper suspended its print edition in February 2020, continuing to publish news on its website and social media platforms. The newspaper then stopped updating its website on Oct. 13.
Once a regional pioneer in the media and publishing world, Lebanon has seen media outlets close down as the country’s economic situation deteriorated.
In 2017, Lebanon’s As-Safir newspaper shut down after 42 years, while another daily, Al-Anwar, closed down a year later. The daily Al-Mustaqbal, which was owned by Hariri’s family, ceased its print edition and turned into a digital newspaper.
An-Nahar, one of the Arab world’s leading newspapers, has also been forced to lay off staff over the years.
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