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Lebanese newspaper to close after four decades in print

Lebanese media is facing a crisis as financial woes forced to closure of As-Safir [AFP]

Date of publication: 24 March, 2016

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One of Lebanon's best-known and most popular newspapers will close its doors on 1 April, bringing into question the future of the relatively free media in the country.

One of Lebanon's best-known newspapers will print its final edition in just over a week, after financial problems.

Managers told staff that As-Safir newspaper offices will close its doors on 1 April after 42 years in print.

Staff initially believed that As-Safir could be relaunched as an online publication in one month's time, although other inside reports suggest that the website is also likely to permanently close.

As-Safir began in 1974 and has been known as a centre-left, pan-Arab publication.

It has been accused of being funded by the Syrian regime, and has backed Bashar al-Assad in the country's six-year war.

There are also unconfirmed reports that As-Safir's political and media rival An-Nahar would also stop printing.
An-Nahar was founded in the 1930s and unlike its competitor has taken a hard-line against the Syrian regime, and pursued a more centre-right editorial line.

This follows reports that al-Liwa and al-Mustaqbal are also facing financial concerns which could force them to close, bringing into question the future of the Beirut-based press.

Lebanese newspapers are among the freest and most politically-orientated of the Arab world, where media often face tight government control.

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