It is our duty to suc­ceed!

ArabAd - - LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER -

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!

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