Al Waleed chooses Bahrain as site for Al Arab news channel

December 30, 2011
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Bahrain will host a new Arabic news station as well as a leading Arab media network after it beat off challenges from Beirut and two other Gulf cities.

Al Arab TV will partner Bloomberg and intends to launch broadcast services next December. It is expected to employ around 300 staff by the start-up date with potential expansion on the cards. Bloomberg will provide five hours of business news daily for the channel.

“The Information Affairs Authority [IAA] is signing an MoU [memorandum of understanding] with Al Arab news channel, the newest in Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal’s successful media empire,” said Shaikh Fawaz Bin Mohammad Al Khalifa, the IAA president.

Meanwhile, the management of the media entity Rotana will also relocate its offices to Bahrain. The network operates 12 entertainment channels including LBC, Fox Movies Channel and Fox Series Channel.

“This will entail the relocation of about 100 of its management team to Bahrain,” said Shaikh Fawaz, who was given the information portfolio in July 2010.

Rotana and Al Arab TV are expected to serve as anchors at the new Manama-based Media City and should be instrumental in attracting other media organisations to Bahrain, the IAA head added. “The IAA is constantly looking to improve its performance in the field of media,” Shaikh Fawaz said. “Despite all the circumstances Bahrain went through over the past year, we were able to successfully compete with other media centres in the Gulf to be selected to host Al Arab TV and the Rotana Network.

“This is big news for Bahrain and our dedicated team at the IAA will make every effort to contribute to the success of this new venture.”

In September, Prince Al Waleed said the new channel’s editorial line would pay particular attention to freedom of speech.

The channel will cover political, economic and social issues related to Saudi Arabia and the Arab world.

Own resources

However, the channel would not receive instructions from Saudi Arabia’s Information Ministry, Prince Al Waleed said. He would be using his own resources to fund the initiative for the next ten years.

Jamal Khashoggi, former editor of Al Watan, an independent newspaper in Saudi Arabia, will head the channel set to compete with Doha-based Al Jazeera and Dubai-based Al Arabiya in the pan-Arab news channel market.

More deals struck

Bahrain had agreed deals with international media entities to boost local skills and enhance the media landscape.

“Contracts with major international media organisations have been completed and they will contribute to training and providing programming in an effort to improve the services provided through the Bahrain Radio and Television Corporation,” he said.

The accords were with France’s Institut National de l’Audiovisuel, the Broadcasting Board of Governors for Voice of America and the BBC, Shaikh Fawaz said.

A contract with Somera, a Paris-based broadcaster in French and Arabic, was renewed and will run until 2016.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/bahrain/al-waleed-chooses-bahrain-as-site-for-al-arab-news-channel-1.958243

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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