Arab News partners with YouGov to survey hearts and minds of Mideast public

Faisal J. Abbas, editor in chief of Arab News (right), and Stephan Shakespeare, chief executive of YouGov.
Updated 20 April 2017
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Arab News partners with YouGov to survey hearts and minds of Mideast public

Arab News, the Middle East’s leading international English-language daily, has entered an exclusive partnership with the globally-acclaimed online polling firm YouGov.
The deal will see YouGov conduct regular polls relating to the Middle East and North Africa, which will help shed light on regional sentiment toward international events, as well as producing credible research on international opinion on Arab affairs.
Findings from the polls conducted under the agreement will be published from next month and appear regularly in the pages of Arab News and online at www.arabnews.com.
The media partnership will be officially announced at the upcoming Arab Media Forum (AMF) happening in Dubai on May 1-2.
“In an era of fast-moving news cycles, information overload and ‘fake news’, there could be no better time for a media brand to invest in quality, credible research such as that produced by YouGov,” said Faisal J. Abbas, editor in chief of Arab News.
“This inevitably means that Arab News readers will enjoy a series of highly insightful research-based reports which will, in turn, bring us closer to understanding the hearts and minds of the region.
“This is consistent with our wider journalistic mission: To be a credible source of information about the Arab world for regional and international readers, and to provide insights about the Middle East and North Africa to English speakers worldwide.”
Stephan Shakespeare, chief executive of YouGov, said that the partnership would result in some valuable research on public opinion in a part of the world where such information is rare.
“In a region where credible statistics can be scarce, our partnership with Arab News will throw light on both how the Arab public feel about pressing global issues, and how the world sees the Middle East,” he said.
“In light of the deep divisions over global political issues and the ‘fake news’ phenomenon, accurate research and information has never been as important as it is now. We look forward to working with Arab News to conduct credible surveys on what people in the region really think — and also what the rest of the world thinks about the region.”
The two parties worked previously to produce the “Arab News/YouGov US election MENA poll”, which provided insights into regional opinion on the November election race. The poll revealed which of the two main candidates — Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton — were most popular in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as how Arab citizens felt about the key policy statements. Results of the poll attracted global attention and were carried by prominent news outlets such as CNN and The Observer newspaper.
The Saudi Arabia-based Arab News was established in 1975 and is currently undergoing a transformation to boost its online output and global presence.


Saudi Arabia ‘has a case’ in complaint over World Cup ‘politicization’ by Qatar’s BeIN

Updated 19 June 2018
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Saudi Arabia ‘has a case’ in complaint over World Cup ‘politicization’ by Qatar’s BeIN

  • Broadcast of political messages in coverage forbidden, analyst confirms.
  • Saudi football federation urges FIFA to sanction the Doha-owned channel.

LONDON: Saudi Arabia has a justified case in complaining to FIFA over the “politicization” of the World Cup by the Qatari broadcaster BeIN Sports, a prominent TV analyst has said.
A flurry of comments by hosts and pundits aired on BeIN’s Arabic station prompted the Saudi Arabian Football Federation to complain to FIFA this week, saying the broadcaster was using the football tournament to spread political messages aimed at insulting Saudi Arabia and its leaders.
In its complaint, the federation called on FIFA to take severe sanctions against the Qatari channel and to abolish the rights granted to the network.
One BeIN commentator accused Saudi Arabia of “selling out the Palestinian cause,” while a Doha-based international footballer invited on the channel was allowed to call for an end to the year-long boycott of Qatar by neighbors Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain.
Constantinos Papavassilopoulos, principal TV research analyst at IHS Markit Technology, said that politicized coverage was expressly forbidden by world football’s governing body as well as the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
“FIFA and UEFA forbid the transmission of political messages during football matches for which they control the rights. It’s not only comments by the broadcasters — but even banners; everything (political) is forbidden,” the analyst told Arab News.
“So messages about Palestine, about political things, are not allowed.”
Papavassilopoulos said that if there is evidence of such cases, authorities in the Kingdom would be justified in taking the matter to FIFA.
“If there are video clips that show BeIN media personnel speaking against Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia has a case,” he said.
But whether FIFA will take any action against BeIN is another matter. Papavassilopoulos pointed to the fact that BeIN is a valued client of FIFA — it bought the rights to host the World Cup across the Middle East and North Africa — and that Qatar plans to host the tournament in 2022.
“BeIN media is a very good client for FIFA. And don’t forget that Qatar is the country that will host the 2022 World Cup,” he said. “It’s going to be very very hard for FIFA to impose penalties on BeIN media knowing that Qatar will hold the next World Cup.”
Some of the biggest names in Arab sport have signed a petition to protest against BeIN’s politicization of World Cup coverage, urging FIFA President Gianni Infantino to investigate the coverage.
FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by Arab News.