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

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.”


Al Jazeera continues to ‘provide a platform to bigoted and violent extremists’

Updated 26 May 2020

Al Jazeera continues to ‘provide a platform to bigoted and violent extremists’

  • Qatar-based media network has a turbulent past when it comes to extremist and anti-Semitic rhetoric

LONDON: Al Jazeera’s recent interview with terrorist-designated group Hamas’ leader Ismail Haniyeh, as well as its podcast glorifying killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, has stirred the ongoing debate surrounding the network’s alleged promotion of terrorism.

The exposure given to the controversial figures has prompted experts into stating that the station and news site continue to provide extremists with a platform to present themselves on.

“The fact that Qatar’s Al Jazeera Arabic continues to provide a platform to bigoted and violent extremists, including terrorists, obviously undermines the Qatari government’s claim to be a steady force for tolerance and coexistence,” Washington director for international affairs at the Anti-Defamation League, David Weinberg, told Arab News.

The station’s interview with Haniyeh served as a stage to threaten Israel with the fact that Hamas was still capable of kidnapping more Israeli soldiers, while the podcast allowed the Soleimani character a free rein to explain his support of terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah and why he helped Syrian President Bashar Assad massacre his own people.

These were not the only controversies the network found itself embroiled in this month.

Last week, Al Jazeera’s Arabic news site carried a headline reading, “Martyr shot by Occupation forces in the West Bank for being accused of trying to run over soldiers,” to report on a Palestinian man who was shot while attempting to ram into Israeli soldiers with his car.

“Every time Al Jazeera calls somebody — anybody — a martyr, it violates the journalistic ethic of impartiality. What makes it much, much worse is that Al Jazeera consistently uses the term martyr to glorify terrorists, provided the civilians those violent extremists are trying to murder happen to be Israeli Jews,” Weinberg said.

“Encouraging slaughter of this sort does nobody any favors, not Palestinians or Israelis, neither Jews nor Arabs.”

“Al-Qaeda in Syria? Flattered by Al Jazeera. The Taliban? Flattered by Al Jazeera. Iranian proxies like Hamas and Islamic Jihad? Flattered by Al Jazeera. Al-Qaeda financier Muthanna Al-Dhari? Flattered by Al Jazeera. Media practices like these are unacceptable, immoral, and bad for people of all faiths and all nations,” he added.

Al Jazeera has a turbulent past when it comes to extremist and anti-Semitic rhetoric. Last year, its youth channel AJ+ Arabic drew widespread condemnation over an alleged Holocaust denial video that claimed Jews exaggerated the scale of the genocide in order to establish Israel.

The chairman of UK nonprofit organization Muslims Against Anti-Semitism, Ghanem Nuseibeh, told Arab News: “Al Jazeera has a direct editorial input from the Diwan in Doha (the sovereign body and administrative office of the Emir of Qatar), with the Arabic channel focused on promoting the extremist ideological discourse. This is their core constituency.

“It is particularly troubling that Al Jazeera Arabic website still to this day continues to host articles and videos of interviews by proscribed groups in the UK such as Al-MuHajjiroun, and freely accessible in the UK,” he added.

Earlier this month, a Shariah expert from the Qatari Ministry of Religious Endowments advocated the beating of women in an interview on the network, stating that they “need to be subdued by muscles.” And this was not the first time.

The station has also broadcasted a religious program hosted by extremist cleric Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the terrorist-designated Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader. Al-Qaradawi, an outspoken Hamas loyalist who was featured in Arab News’ “Preachers of Hate” series, issues fatwas riddled with comments advocating suicide bomb attacks and praises to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler for “punishing the Jews,” on Al Jazeera’s media platforms.

“Al Jazeera’s motto is, ‘the opinion and the other opinion,’ but when it comes to the Muslim Brotherhood’s bigots and violent extremists, Al Jazeera Arabic still just presents one opinion, giving ikhwani (brotherhood) intolerance an unquestioning platform for broadcasting into millions of homes around the world,” Weinberg said.

The media network has also been called a “useful tool” for Qatar’s ruling elite notorious for their sympathies with the Muslim Brotherhood and other terrorist and extremist groups. In 2017, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties with Qatar in order to pressure it to halt its alleged terrorism financing and shut down the network.

US Embassy cables acquired by UK newspaper The Guardian in 2009 proved just how interconnected the Qatari government and Al Jazeera are.

“Al Jazeera, the most watched satellite television station in the Middle East, is heavily subsidized by the Qatari government and has proved itself a useful tool for the station’s political masters … Despite (the government of Qatar’s) protestations to the contrary, Al Jazeera remains one of Qatar’s most valuable political and diplomatic tools,” the cable read.

Al Jazeera tangoes with terrorism

Favoring Daesh

• Do you support the Daesh group’s victories in Iraq and Syria?

• More than 54,000 people voted on the official page of ‘Opposite Direction.’ 81.6 percent voted ‘Yes,’ while 18.4 percent voted ‘No.’

Sectarian discourse 

• Al-Qassim said: ‘Why do you blame the regime? I want to ask you. Al-Nubl and Al-Zahraa are Shiite colonies in the heart of Sunni land. Kafarayah and Fu’aa are still living among you. Why don’t you expel them out as they did to you and curse the ones who gave birth to them?’

Party for a terrorist 

• Al Jazeera host: ‘Brother Samir, we would like to celebrate your birthday with you. You deserve even more than this. I think that 11,000 prisoners – if they can see this program now – are celebrating your birthday with you. Happy birthday, brother Samir.’

Al-Julani interview

• Interviewer: ‘What was the strategy of Al-Qaeda’s Sheikh Osama bin Laden?’

• Al-Julani: ‘He wanted to fight the Americans on their own turf, and that way to drag them into Afghanistan – because we were unable to send armies to (the United States). Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s goal in fighting the Americans was not to put an end to the American presence…’

Boosting terrorism

• ’We call upon the Islamic nation to rise up, and not make do with a futile economic boycott, in the face of this affront to our honorable Prophet. We call upon them to drive out the Danish embassies and ambassadors from the lands of the Muslims, and to expel them from the Muslim countries. They should take serious and immediate action to burn down the offices of the newspapers that affronted our Prophet, and to bomb them, so that body parts go flying, and with these body parts, Allah Almighty will quench the believers’ thirst for revenge.’