How Arab News' new bureaus and digital editions are shaping the brand's news agenda 

Dubai is one of the bureaus that Arab News has opened during the publication's expansion.
Updated 20 April 2018
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How Arab News' new bureaus and digital editions are shaping the brand's news agenda 

  • The first Arab News bureaus to open outside of Saudi Arabia were in London, Southeast Asia and Dubai
  • Most regional stories have an international dimension and Arab News has expanded to reflect that

JEDDAH: “Arab” news, for better or for worse, is rarely solely confined to the region.

From the bloody conflict in Syria and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to the investment moves made by the wealth funds of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, most regional stories have an international dimension — and this newspaper has expanded its global footprint to reflect that. 

Before September 2016, Arab News had no global bureaus or correspondents, nor did it have a vision for growing its international audience. 

Since that date, we have been creating new bureaus and recruiting new contributors regionally and internationally, as part of our “more digital, more global” strategy. This aims at attracting non-Arabic speakers across the world who are seeking specialist information about Saudi Arabia and the Arab world.

It means we can cover how the latest policy decision in Washington, a military move by Moscow, or a massive business investment from Beijing may impact the Arab world.

Just as decisions made on the global stage reverberate in the Middle East and North Africa, countries in the Arab world, notably Saudi Arabia, have ever closer ties with Western powers. Witness the ongoing visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the US.

The first Arab News bureaus to open outside of our headquarters in Saudi Arabia were in London, Southeast Asia and Dubai.

Award-winning journalist Baker Atyani leads the Southeast Asia bureau, with contributors in Islamabad, New Delhi, Kabul, Manila and Jakarta. Major stories from that bureau include an interview with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Our global operations are complemented by the Dubai bureau, headed by Ross Anderson and the London bureau, run by Ben Flanagan. 

On top of this, Arab News also has foreign contributors across the globe, reporting to Jonathan Lessware, the newspaper’s foreign editor.

Of course, the Middle East remains a key area of interest to our editors and readers. Regional contributors include Daoud Kuttab in Amman, Hazem Balousha in Gaza City, Najia Houssari in Beirut, Suadad Al-Salhy in Baghdad and Menekse Tokyay in Ankara.

As global interest in the Arab world grows, so does our network of contributors and readership. We are connecting the world. 


Google employees demand more oversight of China search engine plan

A Google sign is seen during the China Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference (ChinaJoy) in Shanghai, China August 3, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 17 August 2018
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Google employees demand more oversight of China search engine plan

  • Hundreds of employees have called on the company to provide more “transparency, oversight and accountability
  • Employees have asked Google to create an ethics review group with rank-and-file workers, appoint ombudspeople to provide independent review and internally publish assessments of projects

SAN FRANCISCO: Google is not close to launching a search engine app in China, its chief executive said at a companywide meeting on Thursday, according to a transcript seen by Reuters, as employees of the Alphabet Inc. unit called for more transparency and oversight of the project.
Chief Executive Sundar Pichai told staff that though development is in an early stage, providing more services in the world’s most populous country fits with Google’s global mission.
Hoping to gain approval from the Chinese government to provide a mobile search service, the company plans to block some websites and search terms, Reuters reported this month, citing unnamed sources.
Whether the company could or would launch search in China “is all very unclear,” Pichai said, according to the transcript. “The team has been in an exploration stage for quite a while now, and I think they are exploring many options.”
Disclosure of the secretive effort has disturbed some Google employees and human rights advocacy organizations. They are concerned that by agreeing to censorship demands, Google would validate China’s prohibitions on free expression and violate the “don’t be evil” clause in the company’s code of conduct.
Hundreds of employees have called on the company to provide more “transparency, oversight and accountability,” according to an internal petition seen by Reuters on Thursday.
After a separate petition this year, Google announced it would not renew a project to help the US military develop artificial intelligence technology for drones.
The China petition says employees are concerned the project, code named Dragonfly, “makes clear” that ethics principles Google issued during the drone debate “are not enough.”
“We urgently need more transparency, a seat at the table and a commitment to clear and open processes: Google employees need to know what we’re building,” states the document seen by Reuters.
The New York Times first reported the petition on Thursday. Google declined to comment.
Company executives have not commented publicly on Dragonfly, and their remarks at the company-wide meeting marked their first about the project since details about it were leaked.
Employees have asked Google to create an ethics review group with rank-and-file workers, appoint ombudspeople to provide independent review and internally publish assessments of projects that raise substantial ethical questions.
Pichai told employees: “We’ll definitely be transparent as we get closer to actually having a plan of record here” on Dragonfly, according to the transcript. He noted the company guards information on some projects where sharing too early can “cause issues.”
Three former employees involved with Google’s past efforts in China told Reuters current leadership may see offering limited search results in China as better than providing no information at all.
The same rationale led Google to enter China in 2006. It left in 2010 over an escalating dispute with regulators that was capped by what security researchers identified as state-sponsored cyberattacks against Google and other large US firms.
The former employees said they doubt the Chinese government will welcome back Google. A Chinese official, who declined to be named, told Reuters this month that it is “very unlikely” Dragonfly would be available this year.