Former director general of the Al Jazeera Media Network Wadah Khanfar has partnered up with the Huffington Post to create an Arabic-language edition of the popular online news service in the Middle East.
The website, HuffPost Arabi, is expected to launch early next year and will be based in London.
It will cater primarily to young people in the region, but, according to HuffPo founder and editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington, would also “bring more Arab voices into the conversation and deepen the world’s understanding of life in the Arab world, from its problems to its accomplishments to its untapped potential.”
Like the original Huffington Post, content is expected to include a combination of aggregation, blog posts from a wide variety of sources and original reporting from HuffPo reporters and on-the-ground journalists from Integral Media Strategies, of which Khanfar is the CEO.
The former Al Jazeera boss, a Palestinian with a Qatari passport, left the network in 2011 after eight years at the helm. He was replaced by Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim al Thani, who resigned last year after being appointed Qatar’s new Minister of Economy and Trade.
In a statement, Khanfar said:
“The Huffington Post Arabi is a great opportunity for the region. The Arab World is a dynamic and vibrant news environment. Now Arabic creators of news and opinion content will have a fresh and exciting online community where their voices and ideas can be heard and shared. Our audiences will be able to access and engage with news and factual content specifically customized for the Arab World’s new Digital Generation.”
It is unclear whether the introduction of HuffPo to the region will affect the popularity of Al Jazeera. In response to a question from Doha News, a HuffPo spokesperson said the site did not consider the Qatar-based TV network as being in the same category:
“HuffPost Arabi will be a first-of-its-kind online destination in the Arab region, built on The Huffington Post’s award-winning platform, where readers can contribute and engage in conversation.”