Foreign Policy

published : 2023-08-26

Influential Lebanese Journalist Talal Salman Passes Away at 85 Following Prolonged Illness

Salman, the Media Icon, Held Diverse Roles Before Founding As-Safir in March 1974, One of Lebanon’s Leading Daily Newspapers

A black and white portrait of Talal Salman, with him looking into the distance, contemplating. Taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

The world of journalism mourns the loss of Talal Salman, the founder of one of Lebanon's most prominent Arabic-language independent dailies, who succumbed to a prolonged illness on Friday at the age of 85, as reported by the National News Agency.

An icon of Arab nationalism and a devoted disciple of the late Egyptian President Gamal Abdul-Nasser, Salman invested a significant portion of his life penning articles advocating for the Palestinian cause and calling for Arab unity.

Before his major achievement of founding As-Safir daily newspaper in March 1974, Salman had worked for several other notable publications.

Identifying itself as 'Lebanon’s newspaper in the Arab World and the Arab World’s newspaper in Lebanon', As-Safir rapidly gained prominence as one of the country's largest newspapers, operating under the tagline 'Voice of the Voiceless'.

As-Safir, under Salman's editorial guidance, welcomed contributions from renowned journalists and writers from Lebanon and throughout the region, operating until its closure on December 31, 2016, owing to financial constraints.

A bustling newsroom with towering stacks of papers, representing the inner workings of As-Safir. The image subtly captures a single journalist in the midst of the chaos, deeply immersed in their written work. Taken with Nikon D850.

Though the paper bid adieu, Salman continued his journalistic pursuits, writing regularly for a website that bore his name.

One of the key contributors to As-Safir was the late Palestinian cartoonist Naji al-Ali, whose creation 'Handala' morphed into a powerful symbol of Palestinian identity.

Salman’s thought-provoking editorials, where he dissected the latest developments in Lebanon, the Middle East, and around the globe were fervently anticipated by readers.

In 1938, Talal Salman was born in the picturesque northeastern town of Shmustar, nestled in Lebanon's fertile Bekaa Valley, before he relocated to Beirut where he spent most of his life.

His resilience was put to the test when he survived an assassination attempt in front of his Beirut residence during the peak of Lebanon's 15-year civil war in 1984.

A silhouette image of a person writing at their desk late into the night, signifying Salman's undying passion and commitment to his work. Taken with Sony Alpha a7 III.

This event followed previous attempts to destroy his home and As-Safir’s printing offices.

Salman is survived by his wife Afaf al-Asaad, his daughters Hanadi and Rabia, and his sons Ahmad and Ali, in addition to several grandchildren.

Ultimately, Salman's indomitable spirit and relentless pursuit of journalistic excellence will continue to inspire generations of reporters and writers.