Al-Arab News Channel

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al-Arab News Channel
Launched 1 February 2015
Closed 1 February 2015
Owned by Al-Waleed bin Talal
Country Saudi Arabia
Language Arabic
Broadcast area Arab World
Headquarters Doha, Qatar

Al-Arab (Arabic: العرب‎‎)[1] was an Arabic-language news channel which vowed to practice objective journalism.[2][3] It was launched on 1 February 2015[1] and almost immediately shut down.[2][3][4] The channel was owned by Saudi prince and entrepreneur al-Waleed bin Talal, and was based in Manama, Bahrain.


In July 2010, Prince Al-Waleed, owner of a stake in News Corporation, planned to collaborate with News Corp to launch a 24-hour Arabic-language news channel.[5] After a year of deliberation, Al-Waleed announced on 13 September 2011 the launch of Alarab as a personal private venture.[6] He said the channel's editorial stance would be "inspired by the recent political events that have transformed the region, with particular attention to be paid to freedom of speech."[7] The channel was supposedly entirely privately funded, with Al-Waleed insisting that it would not receive instructions from the Saudi government.[7] At the time of the launch, no mention was made of News Corp's involvement.[8]

In December 2011, Manama, Bahrain, was chosen as the network's headquarters.[9] Doha, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Beirut were also among the cities considered to host the network.[10] Prince Al-Waleed retained close ties with the Bahraini royal family while his Kingdom Holding Company maintains a presence in the country through indirect investments in the banking sector.[11]

Al-Arab was launched on 1 February 2015.[1]

The following is the description of the channel on the Linked-In company page for "Al-Arab News Channel":[12]

Alarab News Channel fills a critical void in Arabic-language news programming by delivering millions of viewers an objective, fresh and unbiased view of local and world events. Based in Bahrain, the all-Arabic language channel features extensive news programming as well as regular news roundups, business, politics, social affairs as well as travel, sports and culture and the channel’s cooperation agreement with Bloomberg makes it the reference point for the business community across the region.

Alarab’s core focus will be news and will deliver programming that covers politics, Business, social affairs, in addition to travel, sports and culture. The region’s leading business news will be delivered through its unique cooperation agreement with Bloomberg, which will provide world-class information to the region’s business community.

Alarab will be a platform for a transparent presentation and discussion of the region’s most intractable issues and challenges and will raise the relevant questions that are of concern to its viewers. Furthermore, it will present the expert opinion of renowned guests in its talk shows and will provide viewer involvement through social media. Alarab’s editorial policy is designed to deliver news through a creative and pioneering approach.

One of the founding principles of Alarab is to change the way news programming is made and presented. With that in mind, Alarab has appointed a number of renowned presenters and notable newscasters, among them Laila Al Shaikhli and Tareq Alaas, who complement the nearly 300 highly qualified staff charged with the task of bringing the news channel to air.

In addition, the channel aims to provide a new generation of talented Arab journalists, technicians and production staff with the opportunity to showcase their talents. To that end, Alarab will employ and train young journalists and recent graduates from the GCC and the rest of the Arab world.

Al-Arab's regional competitors were Qatari-owned Al Jazeera and Saudi-government-owned Al Arabiya, along with BSkyB's Sky News Arabia.[7] In a January 2012 interview, Al-Waleed described Al Jazeera as the "masses channel" while implying that Al Arabiya is the "government channel" among the two main news channels in the Middle East. He stated his goal for Al-Arab to "takes the centre’s point of view" between the two networks.[13]

Ownership and management[edit]

Al-Arab was privately owned by Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, independent from Kingdom Holding Company and Rotana Group, two corporations controlled by the prince.[14] It was headquartered in Manama's Media City complex.[9] The channel was based outside Saudi Arabia as the country does not allow independent news channels to operate within its borders.[7]

The channel's director was Jamal Khashoggi, former editor of Al Watan, a newspaper in Saudi Arabia.[7] Khashoggi was removed as editor in 2010 after Al Watan published an article criticizing Salafism, the fundamentalist Islamic movement that is Saudi Arabia's official state religion.[15]

The channel partners with US financial news channel Bloomberg Television, which would have provided five hours of daily programming, including financial bulletins, analysis, reports on regional business leaders, and global financial news.[7] The partnership would have brought al-Arab into direct competition with Arabic-language financial news channel CNBC Arabiya.[16]


On 1 February 2015, al-Arab's first day of programming included an interview with Bahraini Shi'a politician and former member of the Council of Representatives, Khalil al-Marzooq, who discussed the cancelling of 72 Bahrainis' citizenship. Broadcasting was suspended after the interview.[17][18] Al-Arab stated that the suspension was for "technical and administrative reasons", while the newspaper Akhbar al-Khaleej attributed the suspension to al-Arab "not adhering to the norms prevalent in Gulf countries".[1]

The shutdown of Al Arab TV was a result of the poor understanding of the market environment on behalf of the station's management. According to several marketing analysts, the senior managers of the station did not properly evaluate the political environment of Bahrain and the limitations that it has, hence their decision to interview a prime Bahraini opposition personality - something which the Bahraini government would not accept. As a result of Al Arab TV's bad assessment and failure of foreseeing the political and legal consequences of this interview, it paid the price by shutting down permanently. Since February 2015, neither Al Arab TV's website nor its social media pages are functioning, reflecting a total loss of the station's multimillion-dollar investment. It is an example of how short-sighted management and poor environmental analysis can cost millions of dollars in instant losses.[19]


  1. ^ a b c d "Saudi prince's Al-Arab news channel goes off air hours after launching". The Guardian. 2015-02-02. Archived from the original on 2015-02-02. Retrieved 2015-02-03. 
  2. ^ a b Hannon, Elliot (February 2, 2015). "New Middle East News Network Launches Vowing Free Speech, Gets Shut Down After One Day". Slate. 
  3. ^ a b Agencies (2015-02-09). "Bahrain suspends newly launched Alarab news channel: Gulf kingdom orders closure of pan-Arab news channel launched last week after it aired interview with government critic". Al Jazeera English. 
  4. ^ "Alwaleed's new Arab TV channel goes dark". Financial Times. February 2, 2015. 
  5. ^ Weprin, Alex (2010-07-09). "News Corp., Saudi Prince Launching Arabic-Language News Channel". TV Newser. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 
  6. ^ Ghazanfar Ali Khan (2011-09-13). "Alarab to focus on Arab shift". Arab News. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Haschke, Pamela (2011-11-10). "Al Waleed bin Talal Unveils New Channel Alarab". INA Global. Archived from the original on 2011-12-19. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 
  8. ^ Weprin, Alex (2011-09-13). "Prince Al-Waleed Unveils ‘Alarab’ Cable News Channel with Bloomberg as Partner, What About News Corp.?". TV Newser. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 
  9. ^ a b Hammond, Andrew (2011-12-28). "Bahrain to host Saudi prince's Rotana, news channel". Reuters. Retrieved 2012-01-17. 
  10. ^ Shabinakhatri (2011-09-13). "KSA prince eyes Doha as HQ for new international news channel". Doha News. Archived from the original on 2011-12-19. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 
  11. ^ "Kingdom Holding Company : Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad AlKhalifa & Prince Alwaleed Attend Inauguration of "Bahrain the Capital of Arab Culture 2012" Under the Patronage of King of Bahrain" (Press release). Kingdom Holding Company. 2012-02-04. Archived from the original on 2012-02-05. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "CNN talks exclusively to HH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Abdulaziz Al Saud". CNN. 2012-01-23. Retrieved 2012-01-24. 
  14. ^ Flanagan, Ben (2011-09-14). "Prince Al Waleed and Bloomberg plan Arab news channel". The National. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 
  15. ^ "Head of Saudi's most daring newspaper resigns". Al Arabiya. 2010-05-16. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 
  16. ^ Ferris-Lay, Claire (2011-09-21). "Alwaleed's new box of tricks". Arabian Business. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 
  17. ^ Hubbard, Ben (February 2, 2015). "Channel in Bahrain Goes Silent After Giving Opposition Airtime". New York Times. 
  18. ^ "TV channel runs foul of Bahraini authorities". Manama: The National / Associated Press. February 2, 2015. 
  19. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]