Lebanon daily suspends print edition over economic crisis

The Daily Star
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Updated 05 February 2020

Lebanon daily suspends print edition over economic crisis

  • In recent months, employees at the newspaper had complained of not being paid, with one departing journalist reporting in December that some were owed up to half a year in wages

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s English-language The Daily Star suspended its print edition Tuesday, the latest casualty in the collapse of the country’s once-flourishing press.
The newspaper, which is co-owned by the family of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, said on its website the temporary halt of the printing presses was a result of the economic downturn.
It cited “the financial challenges facing the Lebanese press which have been exacerbated by the deterioration of the economic situation in the country.”
It said the temporary suspension came after “a drop to virtually no advertising revenue in the last quarter of 2019, as well as in January of this year.”
In recent months, employees at the newspaper had complained of not being paid, with one departing journalist reporting in December that some were owed up to half a year in wages.
A series of prominent dailies in Lebanon have disappeared from print due to funding shortages in recent years.
The Daily Star is the latest media outlet linked to the former premier to be struggling. In September last year, Hariri announced the suspension of Future TV, his ailing mouthpiece whose employees had been on strike over unpaid wages.

BACKGROUND

The Daily Star was founded in 1952 by Kamel Mroue, then owner and editor in chief of the pan-Arab Al-Hayat daily newspaper.

In January 2019, the Hariri family’s Al-Mustaqbal newspaper issued its last print version, 20 years after it was established.
Saudi Oger, a once-mighty construction firm that was the basis of the Hariri business empire, collapsed in 2017, leaving thousands jobless.
Hariri stepped down as prime minister in late October following unprecedented nationwide protests against alleged official corruption and ineptitude.
Last year, The Daily Star published a newsless black issue to protest the political and economic crises gripping the country.
The economic crisis has since deteriorated, and been compounded by a financial crunch.
The Daily Star was founded in 1952 by Kamel Mroue, then owner and editor in chief of the pan-Arab Al-Hayat daily newspaper.
It closed for more than a decade during the 1975-1990 civil war, returning to news stands in 1996.
The newspaper was bought by businessmen close to Hariri in 2010.


Facebook’s Zuckerberg promises a review of content policies after backlash

Updated 06 June 2020

Facebook’s Zuckerberg promises a review of content policies after backlash

  • Trump's message contained the phrase "when the looting starts, the shooting starts"

WASHINGTON: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Friday said he would consider changes to the policy that led the company to leave up controversial posts by President Donald Trump during recent demonstrations protesting the death of an unarmed black man while in police custody, a partial concession to critics.
Zuckerberg did not promise specific policy changes in a Facebook post, days after staff members walked off the job, some claiming he kept finding new excuses not to challenge Trump.
"I know many of you think we should have labeled the President's posts in some way last week," Zuckerberg wrote, referring to his decision not to remove Trump's message containing the phrase "when the looting starts, the shooting starts."
"We're going to review our policies allowing discussion and threats of state use of force to see if there are any amendments we should adopt," he wrote. "We're going to review potential options for handling violating or partially-violating content aside from the binary leave-it-up or take-it-down decisions."
Zuckerberg said Facebook would be more transparent about its decision-making on whether to take down posts, review policies on posts that could cause voter suppression and would look to build software to advance racial justice, led by important lieutenants.
At a staff meeting earlier this week, employees questioned Zuckerberg's stance on Trump's post.
Zuckerberg, who holds a controlling stake in Facebook, has maintained that while he found Trump's comments "deeply offensive," they did not violate company policy against incitements to violence.
Facebook's policy is either to take down a post or leave it up, without any other options. Now, Zuckerberg said, other possibilities would be considered.
However, he added, "I worry that this approach has a risk of leading us to editorialize on content we don't like even if it doesn't violate our policies."