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Lebanese English-Language Daily Publishes Blank Edition over Crisis

Lebanese English-Language Daily Publishes Blank Edition over Crisis

Thursday, 8 August, 2019 - 09:15
The front page of The Daily Star in its Thursday edition
Asharq Al-Awsat
The Daily Star, Lebanon's only English-language newspaper, protested on Thursday the country's deteriorating economic and political conditions by refraining from publishing news articles.

Each page of Thursday’s edition bore a single phrase referring to one of the country's problems, including government deadlock, rising public debt, increasing sectarian rhetoric and unemployment.

The back page had a photo of the cedar tree, a national symbol, with a caption reading: "Wake up before it's too late!"

Lebanon has been in the grip of an economic crisis for months, and the government has not met since a deadly June 30 shooting in a Mount Lebanon village amid demands to refer the case to the Judicial Council.

The country’s national debt is also hovering around $85 billion, or 150 percent of gross domestic product.

“Despite the worsening political, economic, financial and social problems, there is still time to save the country. This requires a collaborative effort from all sides and sacrificing for the good of the country,” the newspaper said on its website.

The daily's Lebanon and online editor Joseph Habboush said Thursday's move sought to convey alarm to the ruling class.

"We wanted to deliver a warning to the politicians and officials that the situation has reached an alarming level," he said.

In October last year, the country's oldest newspaper An-Nahar printed an entirely blank issue to protest a political deadlock over forming a cabinet.

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