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Media crisis in Lebanon

Upon no advertising revenue, Lebanon’s newspaper ‘The Daily Star’ suspends print edition.

The newspaper, which is co-owned by the family of former prime minister Saad Hariri, said on its website the temporary halt of the printing presses was a result of the economic downturn.

The Daily Star was founded in 1952 by Kamel Mroue, then owner and editor-in-chief of the ‘pan-Arab Al-Hayat’ daily newspaper.

It closed for more than a decade during the 1975-1990 civil war, returning to news stands in 1996.

It said the temporary suspension came after “a drop to virtually no advertising revenue in the last quarter of 2019, as well as in January of this year”.

In recent months, employees at the newspaper had complained of not being paid, with one departing journalist reporting in December that some were owed up to half a year in wages.

A series of prominent dailies in Lebanon have disappeared from print due to funding shortages in recent years.

The Daily Star is the latest media outlet linked to the former premier to be struggling.

In September last year, Hariri announced the suspension of Future TV, whose employees had been on strike over unpaid wages.

In January 2019, the Hariri family’s Al-Mustaqbal newspaper issued its last print version, 20 years after it was established.

Hariri stepped down as prime minister in late October following unprecedented nationwide protests against alleged official corruption and ineptitude.

The economic crisis has since deteriorated, and been compounded by a financial crunch.