Manama has been chosen as the headquarters for billionaire Saudi tycoon Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s upcoming Arab-language international news channel, state-run Bahrain News Agency has announced.
Other cities that had been in consideration included Doha, home of Al Jazeera, Dubai, home of Al Arabiya, and Abu Dhabi and Beirut.
Alarab, which is expected to launch in December 2012, will be privately owned by Talal and independent of Kingdom Holding Company, which Talal owns and chairs. It will target the world’s 300 million native Arabic speakers and focus editorially on the Arab world.
Following the bloody crackdown against protesters in Bahrain earlier this year and the ensuing media ban, the decision has raised questions about how much editorial freedom Alarab will be able to exercise.
The National reports:
The decision by Prince Alwaleed to base the bulk of his media operations in Bahrain is likely to raise questions over freedom of the press.
Bahrain imposed a bloody crackdown against protestors in the uprising there earlier this year, during which restrictions were also placed on media…
Measures imposed by Bahraini authorities included the interrogation and expulsion of foreign journalists, intimidation of citizens willing to be interviewed by the foreign media, and the arrests of photographers and bloggers, according to Reporters Without Borders.
Sounds like the Gulf is the place to be for Arab news networks. Any thoughts on this development?