Saudi Arabia’s news and entertainment group Rotana will relocate its base from Cairo to Bahrain, according to a report by the official Bahrain News Agency. The group, owned by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, will continue to maintain its studios in Cairo and Beirut, the report said.
Prince Alwaleed’s Arabic news channel, Al Arab, which is expected to be launched in the beginning of 2013, is also going to be headquartered in Manama.
The move will expand the scope of media freedom in Bahrain, attract international corporations and encourage investments in the planned free media zone, the report quoted Bahrain’s Information Affairs Authority president Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa as saying.
Prince Alwaleed said that Bahrain was chosen as the headquarters of the new channel from an “economic point of view” and that it would further improve historic relations between the two countries.
The move comes after studying several Arab destinations for the channel, he said.
Earlier this year, in an exclusive interview with Gulf Business, Prince Alwaleed revealed that Al Arab’s content 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.
The channel is being launched in partnership with Bloomberg, and will be added to Rotana’s existing offering of 12 channels, which include LBC and FOX.