Bloomberg aligned with vision 2030 values in SRMG deal

Dr. Ghassan Alshibl, MD and CEO of SRMG (R) signing the Agreement with Justin Smith, CEO of Bloomberg Media in Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York. (AN photo)
Updated 22 September 2017
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Bloomberg aligned with vision 2030 values in SRMG deal

NEW YORK: Bloomberg wants to play a role in the transformation under way in Saudi Arabia under the Vision 2020 Strategy to diversify the economy away from oil dependency, a top executive of the global media and information company said in New York yesterday.
Justin Smith, chief executive officer of Bloomberg Media Group, was speaking after the company signed a deal with Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG), owner of Arab News and other newspaper titles, to launch a multi-platform Arabic-language business and financial news service.
SRMG, which also publishes Al Sharq Al Awsat and Aleqtisadiyah, will be the partner in the region for TV, online, print, and audio content for Bloomberg, which will also stage events in the Kingdom.
“It was logical to go into partnership with a media company in the biggest economy in the region. The transformation as articulated by the Saudi Arabian leadership is an exciting story, and Bloomberg would like to play a role by being an independent, unbiased information provider in the region,” Smith said.
He added that Bloomberg shares the same principles as the policymakers behind Vision 2030: “Free markets, transparency, progress and modernity. Our partners at SRMG also share those qualities.”
Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg and former mayor of New York City, said: “The Middle East is an important, economically diverse region and our agreement with SRMG allows us to deliver the sharpest global business and financial insights to a critical audience of business decision makers.”
Bloomberg already has English-language operations in the UAE, with TV studios in Dubai and Abu Dhabi as well as the Middle East version of Bloomberg Businessweek, but this is its first foray into Arabic.
Content will be provided by translation from Bloomberg’s existing English operations, and will also be self-generated by SRMG staff.
“We have set editorial standards which SRMG has embraced. What Bloomberg stands for is self evident in its work. We will operate with the legal media framework of the country where we are, but we will not change our stripes,” Smith said.
Prince Bader bin Abdullah Al-Saud, chairman of SRMG, said the deal would give a boost to the regional media industry. “We are very pleased with this promising partnership with Bloomberg. In addition to the many business opportunities this collaboration brings, we believe the partnership will greatly enhance the media landscape in our region.
“This is an exciting development for SRMG and a strong progression in our quest to offer the highest quality financial and business journalism from, and about the Middle East,” he added.
Bloomberg has been looking for a regional media partner since the demise of the aborted Al Arab news channel 18 months ago.
“They were good partners, but last year we decided to part ways, and we’ve been talking to different partners for most of this year. Leaning into a local language opportunity was always the next step for us,” said Smith.
“The Middle East is a very important markets for us. Outside North America and Europe we focus on markets that are fast growing. The Middle East has been a great market for our Bloomberg terminals business,” he added.
The Bloomberg/SRMG Arabic operation would be based initially in Riyadh and Dubai, though Smith did not rule out a bureau in Jeddah at a later date.


News anchors join New Zealand women wearing headscarves for mosque attack victims

Updated 22 March 2019
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News anchors join New Zealand women wearing headscarves for mosque attack victims

  • The AM Show news anchor Amanda Gillies said the gesture 'shows we are united'
  • Newsreaders began broadcasts with Islamic greetings

CHRISTCHURCH: News anchors in New Zealand joined women across the country in wearing headscarves as a show of solidarity on Friday for the victims of last week’s mosques shooting. 

The newsreaders covering the memorial events for the 50 people killed by a white supremacist at two mosques in Christchurch, began broadcasts with Islamic greetings.

They included The AM Show news anchor Amanda Gillies, who said she agonized over whether to cover her hair with a peach-colored scarf.

"There's no way a week ago that I would have, because I would have thought it would have been deemed inappropriate, not right, that I was insulting the Muslim community," Gillies said.

"I'll be honest - I did angst over it today whether I should wear it, because I didn't want to be inappropriate or offend the Muslim community. But I know that they are so welcoming and accepting of it, and I know that a lot of women will wear it today because it just shows that we are united - the solidarity is there, the love and support is there."

Elsewhere, women across the country wore hijabs on an emotional day when the shocked  nation came together to remember those killed.

 A journalist wearing a headscarf as tribute to the victims of the mosque attacks uses her phone before Friday prayers at Hagley Park outside Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 22, 2019. (Reuters)

Rafaela Stoakes, a 32-year-old mother of two, said wearing the Islamic head covering gave her an insight into what it means to stand out and feel part of the minority.

On Friday morning she covered all but a few locks of her dark chestnut-coloured hair in a loose red and white scarf, crossed neatly beneath her chin and tucked into a black hiking jacket.

She was one of many women embracing #HeadScarfforHarmony, to make a stand against the hate espoused by the Australian man who killed dozens of worshippers.

Headscarves were also worn as a mark of respect by policewomen and non-Muslim volunteers directing the crowds around the site in Christchurch holding communal prayers on Friday.

Many were wearing a headscarf for the first time.

"It is amazing how different I felt for the short time I was out this morning," Stoakes told AFP.

"There were a lot of confused looks and some slightly aggressive ones," she said.

"I did feel a sense of pride to honour my Muslim friends, but I also felt very vulnerable and alone as I was the only person wearing one."

"It must take a lot of courage to do this on a daily basis."

The gesture caught on nationwide -- in offices, schools and on the streets -- as well as at the ceremonies held in Christchurch to mark one week since the killings at the hands of a self-avowed white supremacist.

Women flooded Twitter, Facebook and other social media -- which played a key role in allowing the gunman to spread his message -- with their images.

Kate Mills Workman, a 19-year-old student from Wellington, posted a selfie on Twitter wearing a green headscarf.

"If I could I would be attending the mosque and standing outside to show my support for my Muslim whanau but I've got lectures and I can't really skip them," she told AFP, using a Maori language term for extended family.

"Obviously this is all spurred on by the terrible tragedy in Christchurch, but it's also a way of showing that any form of harassment or bigotry based on a symbol of religion is never okay," she added.

"As New Zealanders, we have to make a really strong stand."

Although the headscarf has been the subject of contentious debate over gender rights in the Islamic world, for Stoakes the day has been a lesson in how pious Muslim women often do not have the option to melt away into the background when they feel vulnerable.

"We can nod and pretend to agree with people who we are afraid of, or plead ignorance if we feel in danger of confrontation," she said.

"But a Muslim is just right out there. Like a bullseye. Their hijabs and clothing speak before they do."