Tuesday, November 2, 2021

The Daily Star joins the casualties of Lebanese newspapers

So apparently all staff of The Daily Star have been laid off via email. It has been a long time coming. I know I wrote in the past about the dying newspapers in Lebanon, and it was truly a very unpopular opinion (read here). My theory was - let them die. I know it is harsh, I know a lot of people's livelihoods (and not just the journalists, the printers, the distributors, etc...) depend on such publications. But let us also face it, the world was changing at such breakneck speed and everyone was still waiting for some political sponsorship (some did get it though, but forgot to pay anything to their employees!).

Actually, the crisis runs deep simply because if there is a dangled lifeline anywhere, it is always money coming from abroad to trumpet such or such nation (Gulf rulers want to know their money is swaying local opinions in Lebanon). But here we are, The Daily Star, like so many other publications lost its footing. On its website, a message was posted: "We regret to inform our readers that due to circumstances beyond our control, we have temporarily suspended updating our website. We thank you for your understanding." Which reads like a "Chronicle of a Death Foretold" as the Gabriel Garcia Marquez book so eloquently puts it.

Such as the case of all other news outlets, wages are owed and usually there is little incentive or ability to pay them back (with again, the sneaky ones who got new money but did not pay the longtime workers who got discharged, one sample quote "my money is not the (insert name of a prestigious newspaper), they are different" as an excuse not to pay back wages. Suspiciously, the money of the person in question was acquired by - tadam - the inheritance left by those who founded the newspaper!).

Still, The Daily Star was a casualty of the times. A newspaper chiefly centered around expats, in a country where English-speaking expats have become too far and in between!