Lebanese newspapers are one of the leaders of the Arab press. This position is due to a strong tradition of free and privately owned newspapers that dates back to the 19th century.
In Beirut there are newspaper in three different languages (Arabic, English and French), which compose a vibrant and free-from-state-control media community with high professional standards.
The Lebanese press does, however, reflect the limitations of the sectarian system that prevails in the country, where a newspaper is more often identified with one of the religious communities and less with a political ideology or a party. This sectarian identification increases in times of political tension and civil crisis.
The Lebanese press corps has suffered many casualties over the years due to both targeted attacks and armed conflicts in the country.
Did you know?
The first Arab newspaper, The Garden of News, was published in 1858 in the then autonomous Ottoman province of Mount Lebanon. The Lebanese also played a crucial role in establishing some of the most prestigious newspapers in Egypt in the late 19th century, when the Lebanese had to flee their country due to the censorship imposed by the Ottoman Empire. Among the titles were Al Ahram and Al Hilal, as well as various literary magazines in the Arab Diaspora, ranging from Argentina to France.
Language: Arabic Established: 2006 Published daily
The most recent addition to the Lebanese press, Al Akhbar is published in semi-tabloid format. The newspaper situates itself to the left of As Safir and leads a more controversial editorial line than the established dailies. It has two of the most established leftist intellectuals on its staff; Elias Khoury and Joseph Samaha.
Language: Arabic Established: 1959 Published daily
Once one of the most prestigious newspapers in Lebanon and the Arab world, Al Anwar is the flagship of the leading transnational Arab publishing house Dar As-Sayad. Besides the balanced editorials of its editor-in-chief Rafiq Khoury, Al Anwar delivers an unremarkable coverage of local and Arab affaires.
Language: Arabic Established: 2003 Published daily
Lebanon's only daily published in tabloid format, Al Balad delivers easily digested political news, as well as the latest news on high society and popular culture. Despite this, the paper has avoided to fall into the full-fledged tabloid style.
Language: Arabic Established: 1999 Published daily
The mouthpiece of the largest parliamentary block Tayyar Al Mustaqbal, and part of the media empire of the late Prime Minister Rafiq Al Hariri, Al Mustaqbal hosts some of the most outspoken Anti-Syrian columnists. The newspaper is specialized in covering a wide range of local events.
Language: Arabic Established: 1933 Published daily
The leading liberal Lebanese daily, An Nahar gives a nuanced coverage of events in Lebanon and the Arab region. It employs some of the most knowledgeable political analysts in the region. In normal political circumstances An Nahar enjoys a wide cross-sectarian readership, but has a larger appeal in the more affluent Christian community.
Language: Arabic Established: 1974 Published daily
A leading left-leaning nationalist daily with good coverage of Arab and Palestinian affairs and traditionally insightful reviews of Arab literature, As Safir has, in spite of its secular Pan-Arab nationalist profile, increasingly become the mouthpiece of the Shia community and even Hezbollah.
Language: French Established: 1971 Published daily
The soul survivor of a formerly rich Francophone press in Lebanon, L'Orient-Le Jour offers high-quality coverage of main political and cultural events with deep and insightful co-ops, even though partisan to a liberal, Christian leaning line.
Language: English Established: 1952 Published daily
The main news source on Lebanese affairs for the large Anglophone community in Lebanon as well as the foreign press corps all over the Middle East, The Daily Star publishes authoritative and well-informed analysis articles on the major conflicts in the region: the Palestinian Territories, Iraq and Lebanon. It has, however, not managed to find an editorial edge to provoke discussion and attract attention on the highly competitive Lebanese media scene.