Beirut: Lebanon’s only English-language newspaper announced on Tuesday that it was temporarily suspending its print edition because of financial challenges as the country passes through its worst economic crisis in decades.
The Daily Star said its website and social media platforms would continue work as usual “to offer first-rate news coverage and content from Lebanon, the Middle East and beyond.”
The Daily Star is the latest among several Lebanese newspapers that stopped printing in recent years in a struggle to compete with digital media, a struggle that worsened with Lebanon’s economic crisis in the past year.
Days earlier, Radio One, a popular music radio station, went off the air after 37 years as a result of the crisis.
The tiny Mediterranean country is in the midst of a crippling economic and financial crisis, the worst since the end of Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war. The situation has deteriorated further since October 17, when nationwide protests erupted against the political elite, blamed for decades of corruption and mismanagement.
Some organizations have let go of employees and cut salaries, while others have closed down completely.
The Daily Star said in a statement that a drop to virtually no advertising revenues in the last quarter of 2019 and January this year “compounded the already dire financial situation that has ravaged Lebanese newspapers with the rise of digital media.”
“The Daily Star apologises to readers of its print edition and remains hopeful that it can ride out this storm,” it said, adding that they hope to relaunch the paper version and return to newsstands as soon as possible.
The paper has been struggling for a while and some employees went on strike in December protesting that they have not been paid for months.
Some local TV stations have been struggling as well, giving employees half their salary.
Last year, the daily Al Mustaqbal, which was owned by former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s family, ceased its print edition and turned into a digital newspaper. In 2017, Lebanon’s leading daily As Safir went out of print after 42 years of publication while another daily Al Anwar closed down a year later.
The Daily Star was founded in 1952 becoming the first English-language newspaper in the Arab world. It stopped printing during Lebanon’s 15-year civil war, before relaunching in 1996.