Lebanon’s oldest English-language daily the latest casualty in the collapse of the country

Lebanon’s oldest English-language daily newspaper laid off its entire staff and became the latest casualty in the collapse of the country’s once-flourishing press, employees said Tuesday.

The Daily Star’s employees were notified a few days earlier that they were all being made redundant from October 31, according to an email which was sent to the staff and seen by AFP.

The newspaper, which is co-owned by the family of former prime minister Saad Hariri, had halted its print edition early last year and stopped updating its website two weeks ago.

There was no statement from the newspaper but the layoffs put an end to years of financial difficulties during which staff were routinely paid late.

Hariri’s once prosperous media empire has unravelled in recent years, with his Future TV channel and Arabic-language Al Mustaqbal daily downsizing to bare bones.

Lebanon’s prominent As-Safir daily shut down five years ago and An-Nahar, another of the country’s historical newspapers, is clinging on for dear life.

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

It closed for more than a decade during the 1975-1990 civil war, returning to news stands in 1996.

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