Sky News Arabia says on track for 2012 launch

Questions were raised over Abu Dhabi channel’s future in wake of News Corp scandal

Sky News Arabia, British Sky Broadcasting’s (BSkyB) first foreign-language news channel, said Tuesday it is on track to launch in early 2012.

The planned 24-hour Arabic channel has hired 70 staff and expects to hire a further 300 by the close of the year, the company said in an emailed statement. The network also plans to offer a graduate internship scheme to local journalists, the statement said.

Questions were raised over the launch of the news channel after the collapse of News Corp’s $12bn takeover bid for BSkyB in July, after the Rupert Murdock-owned firm became mired in a phone hacking scandal.

The deal had been opposed by the British government after it was revealed the News Corp-owned tabloid News of the World in 2002 hacked into the voice mails of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and deleted messages.

In a statement in July to Arabian Business, the Abu Dhabi-based channel said it was “committed to the launch of Sky News Arabia in the spring of 2012.”

Sky News Arabia, a joint venture between BSkyB and Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corp, will be going head-to-head for viewing figures with the Prince Alwaleed-backed Alarab news channel.

The Saudi billionaire last month confirmed he had teamed up with Bloomberg to fund a 24-hour Arabic-language news network, fronted by Saudi-based journalist Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi.

In a statement, the news channel said it would focus on the shifts taking place across the Arab world with “an emphasis on freedom of speech and freedom of press.”

Sky News Arabia will broadcast to an estimated 50 million households across the Middle East and North Africa.

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: John

It will be interesting to see if they cover the actual news and are critical of governments, or just tow the line like the rest of the media in the UAE.

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Virtue and Vice: The world according to Shane Smith

Virtue and Vice: The world according to Shane Smith

Vice Media co-founder and chief executive Shane Smith set a new...

The art of social media influencing

The art of social media influencing

As social media influencers increasingly demand attention in...

Digital dilemma: the future on advertising

Digital dilemma: the future on advertising

If you’re not advertising online these days, you’re not advertising...

Most Discussed