|Newspapers in Lebanon agree to work together to promote reading
|April 25, 2006: The newspapers of Lebanon announced today that they will work jointly to promote reading across the country. During the past few months, several meetings were held between the managements of An-Nahar, The Daily Star, L'Orient le Jour, As-Safir, Al-Anwar, Al-Hayat, Ad-Diyar, As-Sharq, Al-Balad, Aztag Daily, Al-Liwaa, Al-Moustakbal and Al-Bayraq.
The managements of the newspapers have agreed on one objective; "Enhance the reading habits of the people of Lebanon." They all acknowledged the importance of reading and discussed the current reading habits within Lebanese society. "The idea is to educate the public about the importance of reading. By pooling our resources, our message will reach a much wider audience" said Naji Tueni, deputy general manager of An-Nahar.
"We believe that societies are built better with informed people. We want people to understand what is going on. We want them to have an informed opinion. Only reading will give a complete view of issues" said Ayad Tassabehji, general manager of The Daily Star.
Over the last decade, newspaper readership figures have dropped around the world due to several factors. "We want to grab the attention of the Lebanese masses and make them understand what a lack of reading will lead to" said Ahmad Salman, general manager of As-Ssafir.
"The Lebanese Press Federation is fully endorsing the project and will do everything in its power to support and promote the efforts exerted by the newspapers" said president Mohammad Baalbaki. "We want this endeavor to succeed for the good of Lebanon and the region" he added.
"Our work will be permanent. We believe that Lebanon should have and will have a similar media demographic, like other countries in the region. Newspapers will eventually gain market share over television and other media. The question is not if, but when" said Said Freiha, vice president of business development at Dar Assayad, publishers of Al-Anwar.
The first action the newspaper managers will undertake is the reading awareness campaign, which will be launched in Lebanon starting May 2006.
Editor's note: There are currently 13 daily newspaper in Lebanon. Ten in Arabic, one in French, one in English and one in Armenian.
The Daily Star