Shot in the Dark
The past few years have been excruciating for media across the board. Print media, however, have suffered the brunt of that misery as a result of a lack of revenue and the Arab world’s overwhelming embrace of new technologies, social media and, of course, television. Under such circumstances, the region has been inundated with fake news, unsupported facts and worthless drivel.
Naturally, this state of affairs makes veterans of the communications industry cringe at the tripe that has been circulated as hard news when, in fact in most cases, it’s nothing more than outright misinformation emanating from several outlets.
As a communications man for the past 50 years, nothing has affected me emotionally as much as the recent closure of the pan-arab Arabic-language daily Al-hayat. In fact, in addition to being an authority on the region during the most turbulent times since the late ‘40s and the explosion of the Palestinian Nakba, it served as an academy for scores of acclaimed journalists.
It was an honor for me in the ‘60s to be entrusted by the Mroue Family with managing Al-hayat group, which included, in addition to the Arabic edition, the English-language daily The Daily Star, which is alive and kicking in this media jungle; the French-language Beyrouth Matin Daily; the PR company Prodeco; and the fist statistics firm Memry.
My relation with Al-hayat was at the time, and has always remained despite vast distances, precious and naturally the pain feels more pronounced, which brings us back to the main theme of all this.
If we look back we can never forget that the founder and publisher of Alhayat was assassinated, becoming a martyr, for his beliefs. We also can’t forget the obstacles that were overcome in order to continue publishing. The idea that all that heritage was buried on the instructions of a single individual makes one’s blood boil, not to mention the dismissal of the cream of the paper’s writers and reporters, who were the catalysts that made it flourish and kept it in demand every day. The demise of Al-hayat signifies a golden era gone by, though its memory and impression will endure.
Cover Design by Triangle Mena