An-Nahar front page (17 February 2014)
|Founded||4 August 1933|
History and profile
It was launched on 4 August 1933 as a four-page, hand-set paper. The paper, whose staff numbered five, including its founder Gebran Tueni, was started with a capital of 50 gold pieces raised from friends, and a circulation of a mere 500 copies. Tueni served as the chief editor of the paper until his death in 1949. His son, Ghassan Tueni, and grandson, also named Gebran Tueni, were subsequent editors and publishers.
Ghassan Tueni was publisher and editor-in-chief of the paper from 1948 to 1999 when he retired. On 19 December 1976, Syrian forces occupied the offices of the daily. Upon this incident Ghassan Tueni suspended the publication for a while and left Lebanon for Paris. In 1977, several journalists writing for the daily were detained.
Ghassan's son, Gebran Tueni, was the editor-in-chief of the paper from 2003 to 2005. He was elected to parliament for a Beirut constituency in the 2005 elections, but was assassinated on 12 December 2005 in Mkalles near Beirut in a car bomb explosion. A fiery critic of Syria and its hegemony in Lebanese affairs, Gebran had just returned on the eve of his assassination from Paris where he had been living for fear of assassination. After Gebran's assassination on 12 December 2005, his father Ghassan took over the paper again until his death on 8 June 2012.
Views and writers
An-Nahar provided a platform for various freethinkers to express their views during the years of the Syrian occupation of Lebanon. The paper can be best expressed as centre-left, though its writers' views range across the political spectrum.
Another Lebanese daily, As-Safir, is cited as the rival of An-Nahar. In the mid-1990s the latter was described as a moderate and right-of-center paper, while the former as a left-of-center paper. In the 2000s these papers were again supporters of two opposite poles in Lebanon, in that An-Nahar is a supporter of March 14 alliance, whereas As-Safir supported March 8 alliance.
Prominent writers for An-Nahar have included novelist and critic Elias Khoury, who used to edit its weekly cultural supplement Al Mulhaq (which appears on Saturdays) and, until his assassination, historian, journalist and political activist Samir Kassir. Walid Jumblatt worked as a reporter at the daily in the 1980s. Leading caricaturist Pierre Sadek also worked for the daily.
Circulation and audience
In the mid-1990s, the paper had the highest circulation in Lebanon. However, its circulation in the beginning of the 2000s was 45,000 copies, making it the second after As-Safir. In 2012, the Lebanese Ministry of Information stated that An-Nahar has a circulation of 45,000 copies.
In addition to its native readers in Lebanon, the daily is read by officials, intellectuals and activists outside Lebanon.
The paper was closed for ten days on 3 May 1961 due to the publication of a cartoon depicting Lebanon as a province of Syria. Syria banned mass circulation of the daily in 2005, while its online edition was not banned. In March 2006, the Damascus correspondent of An-Nahar was charged in Syria with publishing "false information harmful to national security" after writing about the intelligence services of the country.
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