Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed’s Al Arab channel closes down

The channel has been unable to find a new base after it was shut down in Bahrain



Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal’s pan-Arab TV news channel Al Arab has ceased operations, according to media reports.

The channel, which began operations two years ago, has been unable to find a new base after it was shut down in Bahrain.

All the employees of the channel reportedly received an email on February 6 saying that the “best efforts” had been exerted to re-launch the news outlet.

“The time has come now for a final decision to be made regarding the future of the channel,” it said.

“Therefore and regretfully, the management has decided to cease its operation with an immediate effect.”

The channel had more than 100 employees on the payroll, a source told the AFP.

Al Arab was first announced in 2011 and began operations from Bahrain in February 2015. However, it was pulled off-air hours after it launched, following an interview with a Bahraini opposition activist.

Also read: Saudi Prince Alwaleed-Backed Al Arab News Channel Launches

Bahrain’s Information Affairs Authority said at the time that the channel failed “to match the standards of regional and international practice agreements, to take account of efforts aimed at stemming the tide of extremism and terrorism throughout the region and the world”.

Read more: Bahrain Confirms Suspension Of Alwaleed’s Al Arab News Channel

The channel then looked for a new base and reportedly studied London, Istanbul and Cyprus, before settling on Qatari capital Doha.

In March last year, Campaign magazine reported that the station planned to relaunch out of Qatar in the third quarter of 2016, after Prince Alwaleed signed a deal with the Qatari government. However, it has not come back on air.

Speaking to Gulf Business in 2012, Prince Alwaleed had said that the channel would be somewhere between Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya.

“Al Jazeera is considered as the channel of the Arab masses and Al Arabiya is thought to be the channel of the governments. I don’t believe that it is the right choice, or the only choice that the Arab people should have,” he said.

Al Arab will adopt an evolutionary approach to news, he added.

“A great many changes are needed in the Arab world, and these can be achieved by orderly means and not necessarily by violence.”

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