The Press: Paying the Piper

In Beirut (pop. 500,000), capital of Lebanon, newspapers flock thick as thieves. Beirut's press platoon of more than 40 papers ekes out a precarious and intensely seasonal life. The largest of the papers has fewer than 20,000 subscribers. Between elections, all but a few shrink to two-page flyers, printed twice a week in obedience to a law that revokes the franchise of any newspaper less regular. But come election time, Beirut's papers turn daily and take on weight. Last week, on the eve of Lebanese national elections, Al Beiraq (The Banner), one of Beirut's more successful publications (circ. 6,000), unabashedly front-paged...

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