The newspaper was founded in 1952 by Kamel Mrowa, who was at the time also the owner and editor-in-chief of the pan-Arab Al-Hayat newspaper. It was one of the first English-language newspapers in the Arab world, breaking news that included the defection of British intelligence officer Kim Philby to the Soviet Union in 1963.
The newspaper stopped printing during Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war, before relaunching in 1996.
In 2010, new investors led by former Prime Minister Saad Hariri bought the paper, but the financial struggles continued. Often, staffers went for months without being paid.
The paper suspended its print edition in February 2020, continuing to publish news on its website and social media platforms. The newspaper then stopped updating its website on October 13.
Once a regional pioneer in the media and publishing world, Lebanon has seen media outlets close down successively due to the worsening economic situation.
In 2017, Lebanon’s As-Safir newspaper shut down after 42 years, while another daily, Al-Anwar closed down a year later. The daily Al-Mustaqbal, which was owned by Hariri’s family, ceased its print edition and turned into a digital newspaper. An-Nahar, one of the Arab world’s leading newspapers, has also been forced to lay off staff over the years.