Jobs @ MG
First independent Syrian newspaper
|Damascus: Syria's first private
newspaper in more than 40 years is proving more popular than even its
publisher expected, attracting more readers with each issue and selling
out just a few hours after hitting the stands.
Ali Farzat, the cartoonist and publisher of al-Domari, or Lamplighter,
said the paper's success has bypassed all expectations. Farzat printed
25,000 copies of the first edition of the newspaper in late February. When
all copies were sold within hours, 25,000 more were printed. There were
75,000 copies of the fifth issue, which came out last month but Farzat
said thousands of people had contacted his office asking for more copies.
He said he could not find a printer with thecapacity to match the demand.
This rush for the paper comes out of people's demand for the new issues
raised in it, unlike the official newspapers, Farzat told The Associated
The 20-page al-Domari, the first satirical newspaper to hit the streets
since a relaxation of the press law in November, carries cartoons and
satirical essays that address political, economic and cultural issues. The
newspaper is the only Syrian newspaper not affiliated with any political
"Al-Domari raises our awareness of what's going on in the
country," said Sammer Al-Shawa, 23, a freelance worker. "The way
it addresses issues is really different from official newspapers."
Some critics contend that al-Domari has nothing new to offer. In a letter
published in the fifth edition, Imad Yousef Aboud complained that the
paper gives nothing but irony.
However, a letter from reader Yousef Shamma reflected the widespread
popular interest in the 'Lamplighter.' "We hope to be the oil of your
lantern ... and to prevent storms from puffing it out," he wrote.
Farzat is the first individual to publish a newspaper since the ruling
Baath party came to power in 1963. q