It is our duty to succeed!
Another year of broken promises has elapsed, a year of frustration, false hopes and expectations that proved futile.
The Lebanese communications industry has been the victim of economic and political ups and downs. Examining its health is a lot like studying the country as a whole: either way, one receives a sobering lesson in missed opportunity and unrealized potential.
On top of all that, this month is tinged with sadness and shock over the loss of one of Lebanon’s decades-old daily newspapers.
In a front-page announcement, Al-anwar newspaper said that because of “a decision that everyone knows the reason for,” its publisher, Dar Assayad, has decided to stop publishing it. The announcement added that Dar Assayad also decided to halt the publication of all its magazines including Fayrouz, Achabaka and Assayad in the latest blow to Lebanon’s media sector.
Dar Assayad’s decision to shut down Al-anwar after 59 years follows a similar decision in 2016 by Lebanese newspaper As-safir to close its doors after more than 40 years in print as a result of financial difficulties.
And in late June, pan-arab newspaper Al-hayat closed its offices in Lebanon, where it was founded, as part of move to take its headquarters to Dubai for financial reasons and close its foreign bureaus.
Also, Lebanese daily Al Balad, has ceased operations with no official announcement. Amid this recent press crisis, An-nahar published a blank 8-page edition to protest against the country’s catastrophic situation.
Are these symptoms the result of a miserable economy that's pulverizing a handful of highprofile papers? Or have we reached a tipping point where advertisers and readers are flocking so quickly to digital media that most of the nation's dailies may end up in the morgue?
Certainly, the signs of decline are more dramatic every year. The challenges our industry faces are huge; they touch on every aspect of the business. We won't pretend we know what the solution is. Nobody does, and that's the problem.
The closure of a newspaper always brings a wave of nostalgia about ink on fingers, the decline of in-depth reporting and the role newspapers have played in the fabric of a country and the daily lives of individuals.
The coming decades will reveal a lot about the Arab media industry — whether it's going through a period of disruption, reduction or otherwise. Time will also reveal what we value as a society. The future is what we make of it, and a bright one is what we should strive for. We are destined to seek new horizons and new horizons are aplenty. This is the only movement that will pull the industry out of stagnation and widen the scope of business in order to guarantee security and continuity for all those concerned. We are all involved.
It is our duty to succeed!