The 26 September 2007 front page of
|Owner(s)||Al Nisr Publishing|
|Editor||Abdul Hamid Ahmad|
|Headquarters||Dubai, United Arab Emirates|
History and profile
Gulf News was first launched in tabloid format in 1979 by prominent UAE businessman Abdul Wahab Galadari; its offices were located on the Airport Road, Dubai. In November 1984, three leading UAE businessmen, purchased the company and formed Al Nisr Publishing. The new owners of the paper were Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Abdullah Al Rostamani and Juma Al Majid. With the death of Abdullah Al Rostamani in 2006, his position on the board is held by a family nominee while the other directors remain.
Under new ownership, Gulf News was relaunched on 10 December 1985 and was free to the public. From February 1986, the public was charged one Dirham (US 27 cents) a copy for the Gulf News package which comprised the broadsheet newspaper and a leisure supplement called Tabloid, which also contained classifieds.
After moving into new premises in 1986, Gulf News began to be distributed to other GCC countries: Bahrain from September 1987; Oman from April 1989; Saudi Arabia from March 1989; and Qatar from April 1989. It also became available in Pakistan from August 1988. In order to provide better local coverage for its readers, Gulf News opened various bureaus around the United Arab Emirates, the GCC and the Subcontinent. The Abu Dhabi bureau was opened in 1982; Bahrain bureau in January 1988; Oman bureau in 1989; Manila bureau in August 1990; Al Ain bureau in 1994; Sharjah bureau in May 1995; and the New Delhi bureau in November 1995.
In November 1995 the width of the paper's broadsheet pages were reduced by four centimetres, to create the new international size of 38 centimetres. Al Nisr Publishing became a limited liability company (LLC) with a share capital of Dh15 million on 26 May 1997.
The first online edition of Gulf News was launched on 1 September 1996. The daily launched video news in its online edition in the second part of the 2000s, being among the first in the region.
As of 2008 Abdul Hamid Ahmad was the editor-in-chief of the paper. Regular op-ed contributors to Gulf News include: Uri Avnery, Kuldip Nayar, Faisal Alkasim, Joseph A. Kechichian, Marwan Al Kabalan, Rakesh Mani, Linda S. Heard, Stuart Reigeluth and Wael Al Sayegh. Gulf News moved to its present headquarters on Sheikh Zayed Road in April 2000.
Sponsorship and promotion
Gulf News was the first newspaper in the region to promote the arts, culture, music and sport through sponsorship of events. In March 1989, The paper started the Gulf Business Awards in collaboration with DHL for the Best Chief Executive, Enterprise and Businessman. The scheme was discontinued in 1996.
The regionally famous Gulf News Fun Drive was started in March 1986. The 26th Fun Drive was held in December 2006 and saw 750 all-terrain vehicles with over 2,800 participants. An earlier Fun Drive was recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as being a significant first achievement. Another major event is the $6 million Dubai World Cup horse race meeting, which comprises seven top quality races, and includes a race for Purebred Arabians. Gulf News sponsors the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen, a Group 1 sprint which one of the main attractions, of the meeting. Gulf News also sponsors an entire evening of horse racing at Nad Al Sheba, with each race being named after one of its titles.
The paper also sponsors a number of other major sports events in the UAE, as well as seminars and conferences. Principal among this latter is the Arab Strategy Forum, where leaders in politics and industry gather to discuss current events affecting the region
Role in Orkut ban
On 3 July 2007, Gulf News revisited the issue of Orkut's "immoral activities" communities, publishing complaints from members of the public against Orkut communities like "Dubai Sex", and officially bringing the complaints to the attention of the state telecom monopoly Etisalat. The ensuing moral panic resulted in a renewed ban of the site by Etisalat by 4 July 2007.
The newspaper won the Asia - Pacific award for best newspaper production in July 1990. The online edition of the paper was reported by Forbes Middle East in 2010 to be the number one among the English-language online newspapers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as well as in the UAE. However, The paper's online version was the seventh mostly visited website among all online websites in the same ranking. Forbes Middle East named it as the third in the Arab world in the period from 31 August 2011 to 31 August 2012.
On 15 December 2013, Gulf News in its editorial claimed without mentioning any source that Pakistan and Afghanistan did not vote for Dubai in its bid for Expo 2020. The Foreign Office of Pakistan quickly brushed aside the allegations as baseless mentioning the facts that Pakistan was committed to bid for Turkey Izmir since Turkey approached Pakistan for its support in 2011 long before Dubai even expressed its interest to host Expo 2020. Javed Jalil Khattak, Consulate General of Pakistan in Dubai, in an open letter to Gulf News termed the editorial as "an orchestrated attempt to damage and defame the historic fraternal relations between Pakistan and the UAE". Pakistan expat community in UAE resorted to social media to voice their concern on the defaming editorial with number of Gulf News subscribers cancelling their subscription in protest.
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- Jeffrey Ghannam (3 February 2011). "Social Media in the Arab World: Leading up to the Uprisings of 2011". The Center for International Media Assistance. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
- "Gulf Editor Sees Bright Future for Newspapers". The Arab Press Network. 4 April 2008. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
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- Orkut.com 'being used for immoral activities' Gulf News 3 July 2007
- Orkut.com banned in the UAE Gulf News 4 July 2007
- Badih, Samia (28 October 2010). "Gulf News No. 1 English online paper in Mena". Gulf News. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
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- "Al Ahram tops online newspapers in Arab world: Forbes". Ahram Online. 27 December 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
- "Expo 2020 vote: UAE deserves answers from Pakistan and Afghanistan". Gulf News. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
- "Gulf News' Expo 2020 allegations baseless: FO". The Nation. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
- "Gulf News stands by editorial on Expo 2020 vote". Gulf News. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
- Parasie, Nicolas. "Dubai Newspaper Editorial Evokes Sharp Pakistani Reaction". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 22 December 2013.