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Newspaper Closes After 69 Years

November 21, 1990

LISBON, Portugal (AP) _ The Lisbon evening newspaper Diario de Lisboa will close at the end of November after 69 years of publication, the editor said Wednesday.

The daily is the latest victim of a Portuguese press crisis that has seen eight major daily and weekly papers close in the past two years.

Chief Editor Antonio Ruella Ramos said Wednesday the last issue of Diario de Lisboa will hit the streets Nov. 30, after negotiations with the Projornal media group failed to find a formula to save the paper.

The center-left tabloid was reportedly loosing 18 million escudos, or $138,000, a month and circulation had fallen to 10,000 from almost 30,000 in 1987.

Ruella Ramos blamed the closure on a contraction of the Portuguese advertising market, a lack of state funding and a change in reading habits away from afternoon papers.

In the 1960s, the Diario de Lisboa was one of the few papers to challenge the strict censorship imposed by rightist dictator Antonio Oliveira Salazar.

After a 1974 revolution restored Portuguese democracy many leading journalists of the newly-freed press came from Diario Lisboa.

The Portuguese press boomed at the end of the 1980s. But the market was unable to sustain the increasing number of titles in this country where almost 20 percent of the 10.3 population is illiterate.

The center-right government is hoping to boost the press by privatizing state-owned papers.

Several titles have been sold and the last remaining state-owned paper, the prestigious Diario de Noticias, is scheduled for privatization early next year.

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