How did they react to #WhatChanged as Arab News celebrates its 43rd anniversary

Arab News, the region leading English-language daily, celebrates its 43rd anniversary. (AN)
Updated 20 April 2018

How did they react to #WhatChanged as Arab News celebrates its 43rd anniversary

  • The changes are all part of a future plan entitled Arab News 2020 to coincide with the paper’s 45th anniversary that year
  • Arab News has opened bureaus in London, Dubai and Pakistan and has hired some of the best industry talent

Arab News — the region leading English-language daily — celebrates its 43rd anniversary with a relaunch, described by Editor in Chief Faisal J. Abbas as “The biggest shake-up the paper has had throughout its 43-year history.”

The changes are all part of a future plan entitled Arab News 2020 to coincide with the paper’s 45th anniversary that year.

The paper’s metamorphosis coincides neatly with the transformation taking place in Saudi Arabia as the country embraces an ambitious reform program as part of the Vision 2030 which, among other things, is redefining the local media industry.

Arab News, which is owned by the Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG), has opened bureaus in London, Dubai and Pakistan and has hired some of the best industry talent, made significant changes to its workflow structure and rewritten its editorial policy.

Here are the reactions to the change:

I think Arab News readers will not just embrace the changes to the newspaper, they will love them. If there’s one region that can adapt to change rapidly, then it’s the Arab world. The new newspaper is clean, it’s crisp, it’s modern — and those things are essential for a modern newspaper. It’s no longer enough to tell readers what happened yesterday, because this is the 21st century, they already know. They want context, analysis. They don’t just want to know what happened, but why it happened, how it happened, and how it’s going to change their lives and what it means for them — and I think any modern newspaper has to do that.

Ross Anderson

Dubai Bureau Chief

I am very happy about the new launch. I grew up with the Arab News, I used to read the newspaper ever since I was 8 or 9 and if I didn’t, my dad would always come in and ask us about headlines. It really has contributed to my sense of understanding of the world, so for me to see the change happening, the whole world, the universe is changing and when you look at it from that perspective, from a universal one then it’s bound to happen. We change, every day we’re changing skin! I think that the fact that it’s launched the way it did and, honestly, under the leadership of (Editor in Chief) Faisal J. Abbas, I think it’s going to go really high and I’m excited to see where it’s going to go next.

Lina Almaeena

Saudi Shoura Council Member

What we needed to do — after 43 years, with one of the oldest English newspapers in the region — is to give it a modern day look and feel. So what we started is to give it a revamp — from the masthead down to every single page.  And then we looked at the digital side of things as well — we revamped the website and also we looked at social media platforms.

Arkan Aladnani

Head of Operations

Congratulations to a friend and colleague Faisal Abbas, and the entire team on the launch of Arab News’ revamped edition. Change is what gives meaning to life at the break of every dawn.

Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi

Former Editor in Chief


Arab News is an old, venerable brand with lots of legacy, going back to the 1970s. The redesigned paper is bold, I think it makes a statement. I think it says here we are, we’re modern. Arab News has gone more international, we are no longer just a Saudi newspaper — there are bureaus around the world and that will increase further.

Frank Kane

Business Columnist, Dubai

I think Arab News has a big role in changing the concept of believing in youth, culture and innovation. With the new concept of Arab News, the new Arab News, I can see positive change is coming to the region, positive change coming to the youth, positive energy, lots of building the capabilities of the youth is needed more than ever. The leadership of Arab News is so powerful to give us also a great example of how change can be done.

Mona Al-Marri

Director-General of the Government of Dubai Media Office

I think the reveal (of the new Arab News identity) was done in a very professional manner, I think it was eye-catching, and it expressed everything that Arab News has to say. The new design is lovely, it has to go and continue because with changing times patterns change, you have a new audience so it has to go with the flow. The framework with Arab News was that there’s no drastic change ... people can still recognize that this is the Arab News.

Khaled Almaeena

Former Editor in Chief

A sharp black and white (masthead) makes it all blunt and straight to the point, which is what takes the news to the second level. The brand says a lot, it has an ambitious, modern touch to it.

Maitha Buhumaid

Government of Dubai Media Office

If you read the newspaper 18 months ago, you would not recognize it compared with what it is today. We have built a network of correspondents around the world, we have opened new bureaus. We have employed some of the finest, most experienced journalists on the planet. And we are doing some fantastic stories and scoops and interviews with world leaders, all with an Arab slant, or reflecting on the region in some way. The Middle East is probably the most misunderstood region in the world; a lot of people have preconceptions about the region. Arab News is helping meet demand for real news about the region, and helping to address some of the misunderstandings.

Ben Flanagan

London Bureau Chief

The new Arab News is outstanding.

Tarek Mishkhas

Former Deputy Editor in Chief

European Parliament adopts copyright reform in blow to big technology firms

Updated 28 min 21 sec ago

European Parliament adopts copyright reform in blow to big technology firms

STRASBOURG: The European Parliament on Tuesday adopted copyright reforms championed by news publishers and the media business, in defiance of the tech giants that lobbied against it.
Despite an intense debate inside and outside of the Strasbourg chamber, MEPs ended up passing the draft law with 348 votes in favor, 274 against, and 36 abstentions.
European lawmakers were sharply divided, with both sides subjected to some of the most intense rival lobbying the EU has ever seen from tech giants, media firms, content creators and online freedom activists.
The culmination of a process that began in 2016, the revamp to European copyright legislation was seen as urgently needed, not having been updated since 2001, before the birth of YouTube or Facebook.
The reform was loudly backed by media companies and artists, who want to secure revenue from web platforms that allow users to distribute their content.
But it was strongly opposed by Internet freedom activists and by Silicon Valley, especially Google, which makes huge profits from the advertising generated alongside the content it hosts.
After the vote, a Google spokesperson warned that the reform “will still lead to legal uncertainty and will hurt Europe’s creative and digital economies.”
The final days before the vote were marked by marches and media stunts, including tens of thousands of people protesting in Germany on Saturday under the slogan “Save the Internet.”
There were similar protests in Austria, Poland and Portugal, while major Polish newspapers on Monday printed blank front pages in an appeal that MEPs adopt the reform.
“I know there are lots of fears about what users can do or not — now we have clear guarantees for freedom of speech, teaching and online creativity,” Commission vice president Andrus Ansip said after the vote.
Germany was at the heart of the anti-reform movement, led by Julia Reda, a 32-year-old Pirate Party MEP who spearheaded a campaign against two of the law’s provisions that have become flashpoints in the debate.
Reda said the vote marked a “dark day for Internet freedom” and decried that MEPs refused, albeit narrowly, to modify the text before the final vote.
For Reda and her supporters the main worry was Article 13, which aims to strengthen the bargaining power of rights holders with platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Soundcloud, which use their content.
Under the reform, European law for the first time would hold platforms legally responsible for enforcing copyright, requiring them to check everything that their users post to prevent infringement.
Reda and her supporters warned that Article 13 would require platforms to install expensive content filters that would automatically and often erroneously delete content from the web.
Speaking after the vote, Reda told AFP that she still hoped the German government would bow to public pressure and demand changes to the law before it is formally adopted.
After that, seen by most observers as a formality, member states will have two years to transpose the EU directive into their own legislation.
“I think what the ultimate result will be that the Internet will become more like cable television,” Reda told AFP.
“That generally there is going to be less diversity of online platforms because the risk of running a platform legally will become much higher.”
Backers of the law, led by MEP Axel Voss, answered that filters are not a requirement but they do not explain how companies can comply with Article 13 without them.
The second article advocated the creation of a “neighboring right” to copyright for news media.
This is designed to enable news companies to demand payment when their output is used by information aggregators like Google News or social networks such as Facebook.
Major publishers including AFP have pushed hard for the reform, seeing it as an urgent remedy to safeguard quality journalism and the plummeting earnings of traditional media companies.
The reform, if properly implemented by member states “can help to maintain journalism in the field, which all evidence shows is still the best way to combat misinformation,” said AFP CEO Fabrice Fries.
But opponents have called it a “link tax” that will stifle discourse on the Internet and pay only big media companies, with no real benefits for journalists or news gatherers.
The reform is staunchly backed by France and several other member states, but some countries may decide to use the flexibility built into the reform that allows a loose interpretation of the rules.