Journalists quit Lebanon paper over anti-protest stance

Lebanese school students take part in a protest in the southern city of Sidon (Saida) on November 5, 2019, during ongoing anti-government protests. (AFP)
Updated 06 November 2019

Journalists quit Lebanon paper over anti-protest stance

  • One journalist announced her resignation last week, another on Monday and two more followed suit on Tuesday
  • Al-Akhbar ,is among the most read and respected newspapers in Lebanon, threw its weight behind the movement

BEIRUT: Four journalists have resigned from Lebanon’s pro-Hezbollah newspaper Al-Akhbar over the daily’s stance on an unprecedented wave of anti-government protests.
One journalist announced her resignation last week, another on Monday and two more followed suit on Tuesday, explaining their decision on social media.
One of them, leading economic journalist Mohammed Zbib, said he “resigned to protest against the newspaper management’s attitude toward the uprising.”
Since October 17, hundreds of thousands of Lebanese have taken to the streets to demand better living conditions and a wholesale change of Lebanon’s corrupt and sectarian political system.
Al-Akhbar is among the most read and respected newspapers in Lebanon, including by those who do not share its political leanings.
Over the years, it has consistently produced pioneering coverage of the economic hardships faced by Lebanon’s least privileged, a key driver of the ongoing protests.
When the protests erupted nearly three weeks ago, initially over a proposed tax on phone calls via messaging apps, Al-Akhbar threw its weight behind the movement.
However, protesters’ grievances swiftly grew to demand the resignation of the entire ruling elite and a complete overhaul of a system that has returned the same politicians to power for decades.
Hezbollah’s powerful leader Hassan Nasrallah faced unusual criticism, including within his own strongholds, and criticized the protest movement as reckless and manipulated by the West.
Al-Akhbar’s initial enthusiasm for the protests gave way to a stance cautioning against the government’s resignation and the emergence of a political vacuum.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri, a Hezbollah rival in the governing coalition, eventually bowed to street pressure on October 29 and announced his cabinet’s resignation.


Google Doodle celebrates Egyptian author Notaila Rashed’s 86th birthday

Updated 20 September 2020

Google Doodle celebrates Egyptian author Notaila Rashed’s 86th birthday

  • She is affectionately known as “mama Lobna”
  • She founded a children’s book section at the publishing house Darel-Hilal in Cairo

DUBAI: Google celebrated the life of Egyptian author, Notaila Rashed, on Sunday, marking what would have been her 86th birthday. 
Affectionately known as “mama Lobna,” Notaila Ibrahim Rashed actively worked for the promotion of children’s and young adult’s literature in Egypt until her death in 2012.
Rashed contributed to children’s literature in the Arab world by writing books and short stories for magazines, as well as radio and television shows. She founded a children’s book section at the publishing house Darel-Hilal in Cairo and worked for children’s magazine ‘Samir’ from its first release in 1956 and until 2002. 
Egyptian National Council of Culture’s first children’s film was based on her story ‘The Doll,’ part of a bigger book called the ‘The Diary of Yasser Family.’
She started writing when she was still a student at the Cairo University, and her first works were broadcast on radio in 1953.
Rashed’s writings blend literary traditions of ancient and modern Egypt to help kids from across the world learn more about contemporary life in her home country.
Mama Lobna also translated a number of classics into Arabic, including ‘Black Beauty,’ ‘The Happy Prince’ and ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes.’
During her lifetime, Rashed received numerous awards, including the State Award for Children’s Literature in 1978, the State Award for Children’s Journalism in 1995 and the Medal of the Council of the Ministry of Culture in 2002.