L’Orient-Le Jour, the only Lebanese French-language daily, was born on June 15, 1971 from the merger of two newspapers, L’Orient (founded in Beirut in 1924) and Le Jour (founded in Beirut in 1934). It is headed by Nayla de Freige.
It has opened its columns to the most prestigious thinkers, columnists, writers and journalists in modern Lebanon. Being a Francophonie advocate, its main mission is to relay independent and quality information for all Francophones with links to Lebanon and the Middle East. Emilie Sueur and Élie Fayad are the editors-in-chief.
Since its creation, L’Orient-Le Jour has been defending the same democratic values, pluralism, openness toward the other and dialogue among cultures and religions. It analyzes Lebanese news, issues, problems and their ramifications in the region in a unique and professional way.
With rich content and targeted distribution, its articles and reports aim to be the best focus of Lebanese and Middle East news. L’Orient-Le Jour also offers its readers a continuous and live news overview on its website, lorientlejour.com, or on its iPad and mobile versions.
L’Orient-Le Jour is the main shareholder of the monthly magazine Le Commerce du Levant, an economic reference in Lebanon and the region.
It was founded in Beirut in 1924 by Georges Naccache and Gabriel Khabbaz.
Mr. Naccache was the co-founder, editor-in-chief and director of L’Orient; the minister of public works, information and tourism; and the ambassador of Lebanon to France.
Mr. Khabbaz, co-founder and director of L’Orient, was a member of parliament for Beirut at the time.
During the French mandate, L’Orient’s editorial line was close to the French and the president of the republic, Emile Eddé. Between 1943 and 1958, the newspaper opposed Syria’s interference policy and defended Lebanon’s sovereignty. From 1958 onward, L’Orient supported the Chéhabist (Nahj) line with the presidents of the republic, Fouad Chéhab and Charles Hélou.
Founded in 1934 by Michel Chiha, who was the principal author of the Lebanese Constitution, a banker, an essayist, a politician, an adviser and a close relative to the president of the republic, Béchara el-Khoury.
Prior to independence, the newspaper supported the line of Béchara el-Khoury’s Constitutional Bloc party, which called for independence, but in 1952 it opposed the renewal of Béchara el-Khoury’s presidential term, calling for abidance by democratic practices. From 1958, after the death of Michel Chiha, Le Jour supported Fouad Chéhab’s presidency, which sought a modern state, hence, its merger with L’Orient.
The 1971 Merger
The two Francophone press bodies competed on political issues, but their macro-political vision defended the same democratic values, pluralism and openness toward the other.
This was the case for so long and in such a natural way that the bringing together of the two once-separated titles surprises nobody today. The main reason for this merger was economic. The first issue of the two paired titles appeared on Tuesday, June 15, 1971, with an editorial for readers.
Resource of the Future
For 90 years, L’Orient-Le Jour has continued to transmit democratic values and freedom of expression to future generations in a vibrant Francophone culture, spreading the same values defended by Georges Naccache, Michel Chiha and Charles Hélou. L’Orient-Le Jour is a true “resource of the future” rooted in history with its top journalists, but is resolutely looking to the future with a young and dynamic team that can adapt to new information and communication technologies.
A Bridge between East and West
Straddling these two parts of the world, our newspaper and our journalists look at and analyze the realities of our region, a sensitive region, with a look different than that of orientalists.
Our journalists tell the East about the West through their own perceptions, relying on the culture of exchange, a look toward the other and dialogue between the two shores of the Mediterranean.
An Independent Newspaper
Financially, the newspaper receives no political money and does not belong to a political group. It survives on the sale of newspapers, print and online subscriptions, and advertising.
Editorially, journalists freely defend their opinions through their editorials. Shareholders demand integrity, objectivity and rigor, while respecting full freedom of expression.
A Diverse Press Group
Le Commerce du Levant
Considered “the” French-speaking economic and financial magazine of reference in the Near East, Le Commerce du Levant was founded in Beirut in 1929, during the French mandate, by Toufic Mizrahi.
Over the years, it has garnered a reputation for seriousness, impartiality and objectivity that has made it a business instrument and the preferred means of research for businessmen, financiers, industrialists and researchers.
Since 1998, thanks to the efforts of Nayla de Freige, Le Commerce du Levant has become part of L’Orient-Le Jour group, while keeping its autonomy and identity. It remains a must on economic matters, mainly Lebanese.
This cultural supplement of L’Orient-Le Jour was established in Beirut in 1929 by the poet Georges Schéhadé and then taken over in 1955 by Salah Stétié. It covers all the news of books and literature in Lebanon, and welcomes the best Lebanese and Arab writers in French. Alexandre Najjar has been the editor-in-chief since 2006.
L’Orient-Littéraire is distributed with the newspaper every first Thursday of the month and is available online at the link below.
L’Orient Today is the group’s English-language news service. It is an independent platform that aims to examine the failure of the Lebanese system and to hold political and economic powerbrokers accountable through comprehensive, in-depth reporting.