Beirut: Al Safir, a pro-Hezbollah daily newspaper that has been in circulation for over 40 years, announced that it will close down in January 2017.
In an editorial published on Saturday, the paper said “the journey has come to an end”.
The paper first announced it was going to close down in March, but last-minute financial help, believe to have come directly from Hezbollah, allowed the paper to continue.
“The dangerous crisis that is threatening the press globally, and Arab nations generally, is taking the local press by storm,” Al Safir wrote, as declining circulation, increasingly limited advertising revenues and, more importantly “the closure of Arab markets in the face of [pro-Hezbollah] Lebanese” newspapers, took their toll.
Gulf Cooperation Council members listed Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation earlier this year which banned all associated media from being circulated or broadcast.
Its website, which is available in Arabic, French and English, will also shut down in January 2017.
Launched by Talal Salman in March 1974, the paper provided a voice for pan-Arabism, which was popular in Lebanese intellectual and political life in the years following the Six-Day War with Israel, although it later aligned itself with Hezbollah and Syria’s Baath Party.
The daily currently has around 140 employees.
Currently, 10 leading newspapers in Lebanon face serious financial challenges.
Al Nahar, whose editor Jibran Tueni was assassinated 11 years ago, is also struggling to keep its doors open.
Meanwhile, Al Akhbar and Al Mustaqbal have laid off journalists and made other budgetary cuts.
Most dailies in Lebanon sell for around $1.35 — a very high price in a country where wages are low and more people have shifted to getting their news from the television or internet.