Saudi Arabia debuts female newsreader

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Ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia has used a female news reader to host the 9.30pm evening news for the first time on its main Saudi TV Channel 1.

Despite the channel’s many rival broadcasters, including Saudi-owned – but Dubai-based – Middle East Broadcasting (MBC) having used female news anchors for some years, this is the first-ever female newscaster on the important 9.30pm main evening news.

Traditionally, men have dominated hard newscasts in Saudi Arabia, while female presenters focused more on soft morning newscasts, women’s programmes, cooking shows and weather updates.

Weam Al Dakheel’s professionalism and confidence drew Twitter praise from viewers. Al Dakheel – a presenter with broadcast media industry experience – is an operations manager at state-owned Saudi TV and has previously worked as a television reporter for Dubai-based CNBC Arabia and as a news presenter at Bahrain-based Al Arab TV. She received a B.A. in journalism from Beirut’s Lebanese American University in 2011 and is tri-lingual in Arabic, English and French.


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