Babylon & Beyond

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LEBANON: The Daily Star is back on the newstands

February 2, 2009 | 10:13 am


The Daily Star is back on news stands across the country as of today.

Lebanon’s only English-language newspaper, famous throughout the Middle East, has resumed publishing after it was forced to shut down by a court order in mid-January.

“We were forced to exit, and now we are back on the highway,” the newspaper’s publisher and editor in chief, Jamil Mroue, told the Los Angeles Times.

The newspaper, which until 2006 was distributed throughout the Middle East alongside the International Herald Tribune, has been entangled in a financial crisis for months.

The shutdown was ordered last month by a court after negotiations with a Lebanese bank over a debt of $700,000 failed.

“The judge lifted the ban,” Mroue said. “There are new investors interested, and we are preparing the ground for them.”

A statement posted on the newspaper’s website today announced: 

“Salaries and other operating expenses have to be paid, and advertising revenues are down across the board, a situation that is particularly difficult for a publication that strives to avoid servitude to either local or foreign political forces. Nonetheless, it is our goal to ride out the storm.”

On and off for decades, the Daily Star had been a unique English-language source of information in the Arab world.

It was founded in 1952 by Kamel Mroue, a leading Lebanese intellectual who was assassinated in the 1960s. The newspaper stopped publishing first in 1977 because of the ongoing civil war in Lebanon, though it resumed briefly in 1984.

Believing in the economic revival of the country, Kamel's son, Jamil, decided to resurrect his father's newspaper in 1995. It expanded regionally, publishing editions in Egypt, Qatar and Kuwait.

All were curtailed in recent years after the financial effect of the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel.

-- Raed Rafei in Beirut

Photo: The Daily Star's newsroom after the only English-language Lebanese newspaper resumed publishing today. Credit: Fadi Abou Ghalioum / Courtesy of the Daily Star

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