Chairman of Kingdom Holding Company Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has announced plans to launch a new 24-hour Arabic language international news channel next year called Alarab.
The channel’s headquarters has not yet been decided, but Doha, Manama, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Beirut are in consideration, the prince told reporters during a press conference on Tuesday.
Upon its launch in December 2012, Alarab – which will be privately owned by Talal and independent of Kingdom Holding – will target the world’s 300 million native Arabic speakers and focus editorially on the Arab world.
Its emphasis will be on freedom of speech and objective reporting, said Talal, who was voted the world’s most powerful Arab earlier this year by Arabian Business.
Alarab will be managed by well-known Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Khashoggi, a former editor-in-chief of the kingdom’s Al-Watan newspaper, resigned last year after publishing an opinion piece that criticized Salafism, a form of Islam widely practiced in Saudi Arabia.
Whether the channel will become a serious competitor of Qatar-based international news network Al Jazeera remains to be seen.
But Alarab is already looking to fill holes in Jazeera’s coverage – Talal has, for example, signed an agreement with Bloomberg LP to produce business news content for the channel.
What do you guys think? Any predictions about Alarabs’s success?