RIYADH: Chairman of Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has announced the launch of a 24-hour international Arabic news channel, which will air from Dec. 12 next year.
“Alarab” is dedicated to Arabic-speaking viewers around the world and will broadcast a range of news programs and features focusing on politics and business.
“Alarab news channel, to be managed by Jamal A. Khashoggi, a well-known Saudi journalist, will be an independent venture from KHC and the Rotana group,” Prince Alwaleed told a press conference in Riyadh on Tuesday.
He said the channel, which aims to tap into the world’s 300 million native Arabic speakers, will focus editorially on the important shifts taking place across the Arab world.
The emphasis will be on freedom of speech and press, said Prince Alwaleed, adding that the channel will uphold the principles of free transfer of information as well as objective, balanced and credible reporting.
The prince also announced that an agreement has been signed with Bloomberg LP to produce business news content for the channel. The press briefing at KHC headquarters was attended by a number of KHC officials, top executives and reporters.
Khashoggi and Andy Lack, chief executive officer of Bloomberg’s Multimedia Group, also spoke on the occasion and outlined the salient features of Alarab-Bloomberg tie-up and how the channel will be different from others. The channel will be privately owned by Prince Alwaleed himself.
Prince Alwaleed said the location of Alarab’s headquarters and main broadcast center has not yet been decided. However, Manama, Doha, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Beirut are among the cities being considered, he added.
“The news channel will cover the latest developments around the world and will also highlight political, social and economic issues in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world,” the prince said in a statement.
He said Bloomberg would support the five hours worth of financial and economic news programming throughout the day on the channel.
Bloomberg-branded business reports will air as part of Alarab’s daily coverage with reports from the MENA markets as well as a weekly roundup of global financial news, said the statement. It will also feature regular segments on Arab business leaders.
The channel will largely benefit from Bloomberg’s extensive financial and economic data from the Bloomberg Professional service and reporting from Bloomberg’s 2,300 journalists in 146 news bureaus across 72 countries.
The plan is to also hire experienced Arabic-speaking media professionals in addition to attracting new talent. “The Arab world is interested in the fields of business, employment, economic development, and is focused on prosperity and growth,” said Prince Alwaleed.
“Our alliance with Bloomberg and its credible source of financial and economic data, together with its extensive media experience, will provide the Alarab news channel with a strong and comprehensive economic platform to accurately cover Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the Arab world,” he added.

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