AL-ARABIYA (United Kingdom)
DAMASCUS - "It seems that the word ‘revolution" is no longer desirable in official circles in Syria," writes Al-Arabiya reporter Kamal Qubeisi from London. "The Revolution" happens to be the name of one of Syria's three main official newspapers, but after 50 years on Syrian newsstands, the paper will merge with another government-run paper and cease to exist, according to Syrian Information Minister Adnan Mahmoud.
The Syrian cabinet's decision stipulates the merger of "The Revolution" (A-Thawra in Arabic) with the newspaper "October" (Tishreen), which was launched after the 1973 war with Israel. Mahmoud did not explain the reason for the decision, nor the timing at a Monday press conference in Damascus in the midst of an international outcry over the killing of more than 100 civilians, including dozens of children.
Mahmoud made no reference to current events, but focused the announcement on technoloigical innovations, explaining how the elimination of A-Thawra would enable the official media "to keep up with the specifications and global standards in the media environment today given the competition the electronic media presents to print papers." Mahmoud said that 83% of news reaches the public electronically.
In comments to the press, Ali Qasim, A-Thawra's editor-in-chief, praised the government's decision. The merger of the two newspapers, he said with no apparent irony, "will mean the end of The Revolution."
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