An-Nahar lays off more than 50 editors & employees.

29Sep09

Update: After An-Nahar, LBC, MTV & Studio Vision lays off more of their staff.

Al-NaharElias Khoury, Georges Nassif, Jean Karam (who headed the training center), Nazih Khater, May Yaacoub (editor of the last page), Khalil Nahas (editor of the sports page), Bahjat Khater (editor of the judiciary section), and Walid Abboud (responsible for the Nahar al-Shabab supplement) were all layed off, including staff writers and administrative employees.

Is the firing of around 50 An-Nahar journalists and employees part of  a periodical layoffs? or is there a definitive decision to restructure the editorial body? Is Booz Allen really behind it?

Rumors have it that the newspaper also layed off two other senior staff. The Editorial Director spoke about a surplus in the newspaper staff and revealed that the Newspaper’s administration called a financial advisor firm.
Even so, how is it possible that one of the oldest founding institution with a long career and experience in the newspaper industry in the Arabic speaking world was able to reach this stage of fiscal deficit?

It is to be noted that An-Nahar shareholders such as Prince Waleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz, and MP Saad al-Hariri and former MP Issam Fares, did not want to increase their percentage of ownership in the newspaper company.

Moreover, An-Nahar pledged its ads to the giant advertising company «Press Media», owned by Antoine Choueiri. However, the newspaper’s debts amounted to five million dollars in the past months.

Some experts, familiar with the process used by “An-Nahar” throughout history said that the press corps always suffer from a “periodical bankruptcy” whenever the chaos of random employments and unbalanced expenses deepened. The latest round of lay off was during Ghassan Tueni’s management (before, his son the martyr Gebran Tueni took over the management of the newspaper), led to the discharge of 47 editors and staff because of “deficit”, An-Nahar stated at the time.

It seems that the newspaper did not learn from its previous experiences, especially with regard to its senior employees salaries. The late Gebran Tueni, and in his latest election campaign hired dozens of employees, which later MP Nayla Tueni added an extra lump of more employees.
However, some discharged staff have succeeded in prosecuting the newspaper, charging it of «arbitrary layoff» and won the case. Therefore, the newspaper was more careful this time and used registered mail to notify the discharged employees.

On the Al-Nahar website, the newspaper focused on mentioning its age. It is, of course, the oldest newspaper in Lebanon – since 1933, which as we all recall has handed the helm from the generation of Ghassan Tueni (Octogenarian) to his granddaughter, Nayla Tueni (in his twenties).

Unfortunately, this time the blow came quickly, though it spared a narrow set of employees.

Is there an alternative plan? is there a new generation to pump alive blood in this institution that dated as far as the 70s? and on what basis? No one knows so far.

Last night, live on NTV with George Salibi, the colleague Ghassan Hajjar who is An-Nahar Editor-in-Chief pointed out that some newspaper (Al-Akhbar) without mentioning it by name, said, likes to stir trouble by focusing and publishing the latest developments that is happening at the daily of An-Nahar.

Al-Akhbar, first noticed when it called Mr. Hajjar; and yet, even though he was apprehensed, he had a hostile tone, and confirmed his readiness to respond immediately – as if they were at war.

Next morning, he responded with an interview on “Voix du Liban” saying that most of Al-Akhbar’s Monday report on mass layoffs at his paper “is true and, but the rest is exaggerated.”

He said the daily’s downsizing is not the “end of the world,” but a step to reevaluate and reform its financial and administrative situation.

Hajjar responded to questions raised by Al-Akhbar pertaining to An-Nahar’s financial deficit, saying that the paper is not currently under threat but that the daily is “redressing its financial situation to avoid future problems”.

Many employees, including ‘big names’, are dispensable if others are tasked with the same responsibilities or if they have reached the age of retirement,” he said

An-Nahar is a national institution, a examplatory tradition of journalism, and not just any daily newspaper.

While we’re on the subject of the Lebanese Newspaper industry – Qifa Nabki has noticed that Al Akhbar may be launching an Anglophone version.

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3 Responses to “An-Nahar lays off more than 50 editors & employees.”

  1. What the hell!

  2. Wish this was better written, but regardless it’s a tragic story.


  1. 1 An English Version of al-Akhbar? « Qifa Nabki

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