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Saudi plans Al Jazeera competitor?

May 10, 2023

Saudi Arabia’s state media group is mulling an international English-language news channel to rival Qatar’s Al Jazeera.

Saudi Research and Media Group has contacted consultancies to study feasibility, reports the FT.

Boosted by recent high oil prices, Saudi Arabia seeks to compete with Dubai as the Gulf region’s financial hub and is looking to sport and media to help boost its international image. It is also spending hundreds of billions on mega projects like the new city of Neom to diversify away from petrodollars.

SRMG, founded by the royal family, runs 36 titles, including the pan-Arab newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat and television channel Asharq News, which has partnered with Bloomberg. It also has partnerships with the British online newspaper The Independent and operates its Middle East editions.

Saudi Arabia already provides Al Arabiya, an Arabic broadcaster that rivals Al Jazeera Arabic and the UAE’s Sky News Arabia. All of those channels practise censorship and espouse their government’s views.

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