Beirut: The English-language website of one of Lebanon’s most outspoken newspapers abruptly ended operations Friday, after a three-and-a-half-year stint, while plans to launch an English print edition were also put in the shredder.
Employees at Al-Akhbar English told The Daily Star that members of the newspaper’s management made the unexpected announcement Friday afternoon.
“We had two options: Either to go forward with a larger and much more expensive [print project], or to shut down,” Amer Mohsen, a senior member of Al-Akhbar’s editorial staff, told The Daily Star.
“And since the first option to publish the full-fledged paper was not possible, we decided to go the other way,” he said.
“Many factors,” including a lack of funds, led to closure of the website and the canceling of a paper launch, Mohsen added.
The closure comes days after three members of the staff were let go in unprecedented layoffs for the English site.
Al-Akhbar English, which was launched as an online-only platform in August 2011, had recently began preparing to transition into a full-fledged print newspaper under a new name, The Beirut Bulletin.
Originally, the management intended to continue running the news site until the launch of the paper, which was scheduled for summer.
But the site, which featured a blend of translations from the Arabic newspaper and original English content, was abruptly canceled when management realized plans for The Beirut Bulletin could no longer move forward.