Saudi Prince Alwaleed-Backed Alarab News Channel Launches

The 24-hour Arabic language news channel, based in Bahrain, will have a specific focus on Saudi affairs.



Alarab News Channel, the new 24-hour Arabic news channel backed by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, launched operations on February 1 from its headquarters in Bahrain.

The channel, initially slated to begin airing in end-2012, will have a core focus on news, and deliver programming that covers politics, business and social affairs in addition to travel, sports and culture.

Fahad Sukait, chairman and CEO of the channel said: “We are proud of the strong start we’ve made. Our goal is to provide viewers with a new and different style, delivering impartial and accurate news based on deep analysis.”

Jamal Khashoggi, general manager, added: “We felt there was a real need for an independent and impartial channel. We are proud that our programmes will go beyond the ‘normal’ to provide viewers with the stories that matter to them.”

The channel will provide news bulletins at the top of each hour through its network of correspondents and bureaus around the world, while business news will be provided through a cooperation agreement with Bloomberg.

Aside from the news, Alarab will broadcast a range of programmes including a focus on Saudi Arabian affairs, a statement said.

Every weekday from Sunday to Thursday, the KSA bulletin will feature news from the Kingdom, while Ghanem Al Mareekhi will host “Min Al Riyadh”, a daily talk show covering topics such as politics to social affairs, which aims to open a dialogue between the Saudi people and the authorities.

Speaking to Gulf Business in 2012, Prince Alwaleed, chairman of Kingdom Holding Company 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.

Alarab 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.”