Saudi media group SRMG inks deal to launch ‘Bloomberg Al Arabiya’ network

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Prince Bader bin Abdallah bin Mohammad bin Farhan Al Saud (L) with Mr. Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg L.P. and former mayor of New York City at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York. (AN photo)
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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)
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Dr. Ghassan Alshibl, Managing Director and CEO, SRMG (first right) Justin B Smith, CEO, Bloomberg Media (first left), John Micklethwait, Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg (second left) and Mr. Abdulrahman Alruwaita, Chairman of the Executive Committee, SRMG. (AN photo)
Updated 21 September 2017
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Saudi media group SRMG inks deal to launch ‘Bloomberg Al Arabiya’ network

RIYADH: Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG) today said it has entered a long-term agreement with US-headquartered media firm Bloomberg to launch a multi-platform Arabic-language business and financial news service.
SRMG — publisher of Asharq Al-Awsat, Arab News and Aleqtisadiah — plans a 24-hour television and radio network and dedicated digital platform under the “Bloomberg Al-Arabiya” brand.
It will also publish “Bloomberg Businessweek” magazine in Arabic and launch a new conference and live events series, according to a statement from the company.
The Bloomberg Al-Arabiya platforms will provide Arabic-speaking audiences around the world with news and analysis on the companies, markets, economies and politics shaping the Middle East, the statement 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,” he said.
“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.”
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.”
Headquartered in the Gulf, the Bloomberg Al Arabiya team will be managed by SRMG with support from Bloomberg, and will draw on its financial and economic content and data as well as its 2,700 reporters and analysts globally.
“Our partnership with SRMG is a significant milestone in our regional growth story, building on the introduction of an expanded suite of new media platforms in the Middle East last year,” said Justin B. Smith, CEO of Bloomberg Media Group. “This agreement is an integral part of our strategy of forming partnerships with leading news providers in markets that have a compelling economic growth story, as we look to further expand our localized international presence.”
Dr. Ghassan Al-Shibl, managing director and CEO of SRMG, said: “As one of the biggest media publishing houses in the Middle East, this partnership between SRMG and Bloomberg will see us expand into the international television business. With the new era of business and economic transformation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, such a significant agreement between two leading brands will pave the way for a multi-platform ecosystem of specialized business and financial content of international standards. This is the beginning of a new chapter in the history of media and publishing in the region.”
Bloomberg editor in chief John Micklethwait said: “Bloomberg Al Arabiya will enable us to build on more than 20 years of newsgathering across the Arab world to deliver the best of Bloomberg’s news, insight and analysis.”


Turkey tries Bloomberg reporters, accused of economic sabotage

Updated 20 September 2019

Turkey tries Bloomberg reporters, accused of economic sabotage

  • They were among dozens of defendants, including some who had simply written jokes about the currency crisis on Twitter
  • Conspiracy theories are widely believed in Turkey

ISTANBUL: Two Bloomberg reporters on Friday appeared in a Turkish court accused of damaging the country’s economy by writing an article about last year’s currency crisis.

Numerous other defendants, including economists and journalists, have also been charged in the case over their critical comments on social media about the financial turmoil in August 2018.

If found guilty they could face up to five years in prison.

Bloomberg’s editor-in-chief, John Micklethwait, said: “We condemn the indictment issued against our reporters, who have reported fairly and accurately on newsworthy events. We fully stand by them and will support them throughout this ordeal.”

The case, which opened in Istanbul on Friday, was brought after a complaint from Turkey’s banking watchdog BDDK and Capital Markets Board. The criminal court will begin hearing the second session of the prosecution on Jan 17.

The Bloomberg reporters’ article angered Turkish decision-makers and financial institutions after it claimed that the country’s Central Bank would be holding an emergency meeting over a plunge in the value of the lira against the dollar — the biggest currency shock to hit Turkey since 2001 — mainly brought on by a diplomatic crisis with the US.

The independence of the Turkish Central Bank has been high on the agenda for some time in the recession-hit economy, especially after the dismissal of its governor by a presidential decree in early July with no official reason given.

Experts said the trial was a continuation of a campaign of intimidation against journalists working in independent local and foreign media in Turkey. One local journalist, Cengiz Erdinc, has been convicted of “ruining the prestige” of the state-run Ziraat bank.

Last year, the Turkish Interior Ministry said it would take legal action against 346 social media accounts it claimed had created negative perceptions about the Turkish economy.

In another attempted press crackdown in Turkey, the pro-government SETA think tank in Istanbul recently published a report profiling Turkish journalists working for foreign media organizations, including Arab News, accusing them of “carrying out a perception work” through their “univocal line of reporting.”

Dr. Sarphan Uzunoglu, assistant professor of multimedia journalism at the Lebanese American University, said Turkey’s existing foreign policy and the government’s discourse over the last two years, totally fitted what was going on in the Bloomberg trial.

“The (Turkish) Justice and Development Party’s paranoid and conspiracy-driven political discourse is directly reflected to accusations against these journalists,” he told Arab News.

“Journalists are accused of attempting an ‘economic coup.’ The tweets and stories they published, like in all trials of journalists in Turkey, are used against them. I think one of the most important factors here is that Bloomberg seems to be a handful of comparatively independent, economy focused newsrooms.”

On the day of the trial, the US dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate rose to 5.7140, from 5.6980 on Thursday. The Turkish economy has contracted for the past three quarters.