Al Arabiya - Wikipedia
Al Arabiya
For the language, see Arabic. For the script, see Arabic alphabet.
Al Arabiya (Arabic: العربية‎‎, transliterated: al-ʿArabiyyah; meaning "The Arabic One" or "The Arab One"[a]) is an international Arabic news channel based In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia that is operated by the media conglomerate Middle East Broadcasting Center.
Al Arabiya
CountrySaudi Arabia
Broadcast areaWorldwide
Slogan"To Know More"
Picture format1080i (HD)
576i (SD)
ParentMBC Group
Sister channelsAl Arabiya English
Launched3 March 2003; 18 years ago
Links (Arabic) (English) (Persian) (Urdu)
Nilesat 10211470 V - 27500 - 5/6[1]
Arabsat BADR-711938 V - 27500 - 5/6[1]
Hot Bird 911747 H - 27500 - 3/4[2]
OSN (MENA)Channel 453
beIN (MENA)Channel 213
Streaming media
YouTubeWatch live
Launched on 3 March 2003,[3][4] the channel is based in Dubai Media City, United Arab Emirates.
A free-to-air channel, Al Arabiya broadcasts standard newscasts every hour as well as talk shows and documentaries. These programs cover current affairs, business, stock markets and sports. It is rated among the top pan-Arab stations by Middle East audiences.[5] The news organization's website is accessible in Arabic, English, Urdu and Persian. As of March 2018, the website's number-one consumer by country was Saudi Arabia, with 20% of the entire viewership.
On 26 January 2009, American president Barack Obama gave his first formal interview as president to the television channel.[6]
Mamdouh Al-Muhaini is the general manager of the Al Arabiya Network since October 2019, succeeding the former manager Nabil Al-Khatib.[7]
On 24 April 2020, Al Arabiya introduced a new graphics and audio package and studios as well as a new modified logo in the network's first major rebrand since its launch in 2003.[8]
Content and Al Jazeera rivalry
As a response to Al Jazeera's criticism of the Saudi royal family throughout the 1990s, relatives of the Saudi royal family established Al Arabiya in Dubai in 2002.[9][10][11] According to a 2008 profile in The New York Times of Al Arabiya director Abdul Rahman Al Rashed, the channel works "to cure Arab television of its penchant for radical politics and violence". Al Arabiya is said to be the second most frequently watched channel after Al Jazeera in Saudi Arabia.[12]
Al Arabiya broadcast the email messages of Syrian president Bashar Assad in 2012 that were leaked by opposition hackers.[13] The channel's English language website also obtained emails which revealed[14] that PR agency BLJ were behind the infamous positive profile of the Syrian first lady, Asma Assad, in Vogue magazine while her husband's regime was responsible for the crushing of peaceful demonstrations in 2011.[15]
Al Arabiya reporter in Jerusalem
Investment and ownership
According to unconfirmed reports, Al Arabiya was founded through investment by the Middle East Broadcasting Center, as well as other investors from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the Persian Gulf states.[5] Through MBC, Saudi Prince Abdulaziz bin Fahd and his maternal uncle Waleed bin Ibrahim al Ibrahim own and have control over Al Arabiya.[12]
In March 2012, the channel launched a new channel, Al-Hadath which focuses exclusively on prolonged extensive coverage of political news.[28]
Track record and controversies
Al Arabiya has been criticized as an arm of Saudi foreign policy, or what the United States would term public diplomacy, as it is seen as being part of "a concerted Saudi attempt to dominate the world of cable and satellite television media in the Arab world and steal the thunder of Egypt".[29][30]
On 14 February 2005, Al Arabiya was the first news satellite channel to air news of the assassination of Rafik Hariri,[31] one of its early investors. On 9 October 2008, the Al Arabiya website was hacked.[32]
In 2009, Courtney C. Radsch claimed to have lost her job the day after publishing an article about safety problems on Emirates airline, while Al Arabiya claimed it was restructuring the English department.[33]
In 2016, Al Arabiya dismissed 50 staff members, including journalists. Citing financial problems stemming from low oil prices, the dismissed individuals were offered salaries and benefits for six months as a severance package.[34]
On 2 September 2008, Iran expelled Al Arabiya's Tehran bureau chief Hassan Fahs, the third Al Arabiya correspondent expelled from Iran since the network opened an Iran office.[35] On 14 June 2009, the Iranian government ordered the Al Arabiya office in Tehran to be closed for a week for "unfair reporting" of the Iranian presidential election. Seven days later, amid the 2009 Iranian election protests, the network's office was "closed indefinitely" by the government.[36]
In a column published on Al Arabiya's English website, Hassan Fahs says why he has left Iran, revealing that he has received direct threats of arrest and killing from senior Iranian officials as well as alarming attempts to censor and control the channel's coverage.[37]
In April 2017, Al Arabiya was found in breach of UK broadcasting law by the UK media regulator, Ofcom, for broadcasting an interview with an imprisoned Bahraini torture survivor. Ofcom concluded that it infringed on the privacy of imprisoned Bahraini opposition leader and torture survivor Hassan Mushaima, when it broadcast footage of him obtained during his arbitrary detention in Bahrain.[38] Ofcom eventually sanctioned the licence holder Al Arabiya News Channel FZ-LLC by fining them £120,000, broadcasting an on-air apology in accordance with pending instructions from their side, and never to repeat the broadcast of infringing material for the offence in January 2018, after considering the channel's defence for alleged deficiencies in Ofcom's ruling.[39][40][41] The channel then surrendered its license to broadcast in the following month after additional complaint against it were filed, this time by Qatar News Agency over their 2017 coverage of pivotal story planted on the latter's website in lead up to the Qatar diplomatic crisis through suspected states-sponsored hacking in concert with Sky News Arabia and others based in the jurisdictions of anti-Qatar parties to the conflict, according to the QNA's representative Carter-Ruck.[42][43]
Arab criticism
Al Arabiya had been banned from reporting from Iraq by the country's interim government in November 2004 after it broadcast an audio tape on 16 November purportedly made by the deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.[5] The Iraqi government had also banned the channel on 7 September 2006 for one month for what it called "imprecise coverage". According to the station itself, Al Arabiya journalists and staff have come under constant pressure from Iraqi officials to allegedly "report stories as dictated to" and in 2014, PM Nouri Maliki threatened again to ban Al Arabiya in Iraq, shut down its offices and websites. For his part, Al Arabiya's General Manager at the time, Abdulrahman al-Rashed, vowed in a statement that the news channel and its sister channel al-Hadath will continue reporting the story in Iraq despite "Maliki's threats" as well as other threats from the likes of ISIS.[44] However, al-Arabiya is widely perceived in Iraq as a pro-Saudi and anti-Shia sectarian channel.
Due to post-coverage of assassination of Rafic Hariri, as of 2007, Syrian politicians on many occasions labeled al-Arabiya "al-Yahudiyya" ["the Jewish"] and "al-'Ibriyya" ["the Hebrew"], for anti-government and perceived pro-US and pro-Israeli bias.[45] However, the label "al-‘Ebriya" ("the Hebrew One") itself is given by many Arabs to the station reaching all the way back to 2003, for what some perceive as relatively sympathetic coverage of Israel (Francis, 2007).[46]
In 2013, Saudi scholar Abdulaziz al-Tarefe tweeted: "If the channel ‘Al-Arabiya’ existed in the time of the Prophet [Muhammad] the hypocrites would only have rallied behind it and the wealth of Banu Qurayza would only have been spent on it."[47]
Killed reporters
In September 2003, Al Arabiya reporter Mazen al-Tumeizi was killed on camera in Iraq when a U.S. helicopter fired on a crowd in Haifa Street in Baghdad.[48]
In February 2006, three Al Arabiya reporters were abducted and murdered while covering the aftermath of the bombing of a mosque in Samarra, Iraq. Among them was correspondent Atwar Bahjat, an Iraqi national.[49]
In 2012, Al Arabiya's Asia correspondent Baker Atyani was abducted in the Philippines by an armed militia. He was released[50] after 18 months.[51]
Fake reporters
In 2020, The Daily Beast identified a network of false personas used to sneak opinion pieces aligned with UAE government policy to media outlets such as Al Arabiya. They're[clarification needed] critical about Turkey’s role in the Middle East, as well as Qatar and particularly its state media Al Jazeera.[52] Twitter suspended some of the fake columnists' accounts in early July 2020.[53]
Broadcasting of Armen Sargsyan
During the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the channel interviewed Armenian President, Armen Sargsyan, about the ongoing war happening between Armenia and Azerbaijan, during which President Sargsyan blasted Turkey and Azerbaijan for inflaming the conflict.[54] In response, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (owners of the channel) of destabilization in the Caucasus and Middle East, resulting in Saudi Arabian Commercial Chamber's Head Ajlan Al-Ajlan to call for boycott against Turkish goods in response to Turkish meddling and aggression.[55]
Appearance of Barack Obama
On 26 January 2009, President of the United States Barack Obama gave his first formal interview as president to Al Arabiya,[56] delivering the message to the Muslim world that "Americans are not your enemy", while also reiterating that "Israel is a strong ally of the United States" and that they "will not stop being a strong ally of the United States".[6] The White House contacted Al Arabiya's Washington Bureau chief, Hisham Melhem, directly just hours before the interview and asked him not to announce it until an official announcement was made by the administration.[56]
Further information: Al Arabiya English
The Al Arabiya internet news service ( was launched in 2004 initially in Arabic, and was joined by an English-language service in 2007, and Persian and Urdu services in 2008. The channel also operates a business website that covers financial news and market data from the Middle East in Arabic ( The Al Arabiya News Channel is available live online on JumpTV and Livestation. The English website of Al Arabiya[citation needed] was relaunched in 2013 and now features automated subtitles of the news and programs that appear on the channel.[57]
The Al Arabiya website was plagued with numerous technical difficulties during the Egyptian protests at the end of January 2011. The site very often went offline with error messages as such as the following: "The website is down due to the heavy traffic to follow up with the Egyptian crisis and it will be back within three hours (Time of message: 11GMT)".
^ العربيةal-ʻarabīyah /alʕarabijja/ is the feminine for العربيal-ʻarabī /alʕarabiː/, both mean "the Arab [one]" or "the Arabic [one]", the first Arabic word form is the feminine form while the latter Arabic form is the masculine form.
  1. ^ a b "الترددات الجديدة لقنوات MBC -". Retrieved 7 March 2017.
  2. ^ "Hot Bird 13B / Hot Bird 13C / Hot Bird 13D oo13°E) - All transmissions - frequencies - KingOfSat".
  3. ^ "About Al Arabiya TV". Al Arabiya. Archived from the original on 10 February 2010. Retrieved 4 September 2009.
  4. ^ Erik C. Nisbet; Teresa A. Myers (2011). "Anti-American Sentiment as a Media Effect? Arab Media, Political Identity, and Public Opinion in the Middle East" (PDF). Communication Research. 38 (5): 684–709. doi​:​10.1177/0093650211405648​. S2CID 30122123. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Peter Feuilherade (25 November 2003). "Profile: Al-Arabiya TV". BBC Monitoring. Retrieved 4 September 2009.
  6. ^ a b "Obama tells Al Arabiya peace talks should resume Archived 10 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine". Al Arabiya 27 January 2009.
  7. ^ "Al Arabiya News Channel appoints new general manager". Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  8. ^ "Leading news network Al Arabiya relaunches with new technology and design". Al Arabiya English. 24 April 2020. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  9. ^ "Kraidy, Marwan". Archived from the original on 8 October 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
  10. ^ (2006). "Hypermedia and governance in Saudi Arabia". First Monday. Special Issue No. 7. p. 10.
  11. ^ Departmental Papers (ASC). University of Pennsylvania. 22 September 2010. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
  12. ^ a b "Ideological And Ownership Trends In The Saudi Media". Cablegate. 11 May 2009. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  13. ^ Al Abdeh, Malik (4 October 2012). "The Media War in Syria". The Majalla. Archived from the original on 18 November 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  14. ^ "Syria Leaks: Al Arabiya English Reports On Assad's PR Firm". The Huffington Post. 25 July 2012.
  15. ^ "Syria Leaks: Al Arabiya English Reports on Assad's PR Firm". The Huffington Post. 25 July 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  16. ^ "Al Arabiya TV : Popular Programs on Al Arabiya TV: Arabic News Channel - Middle Eastern News - Arab Political Show". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  17. ^ "Al Arabiya Programs". 15 September 2009. Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  18. ^ "Rawafed Website".
  19. ^ From Iraq,
  20. ^ Inside Iran,
  21. ^ Death Making,
  22. ^ Business Profiles,
  23. ^ Point of Order,
  24. ^ Political Memoirs,
  25. ^ Diplomatic Avenue,
  26. ^ Studio Beirut,
  27. ^ The Big Screen,
  28. ^ "Al Arabiya launches Al Hadath channel". Al Arabiya. 4 March 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  29. ^ Andrew Hammond (October 2006). "Saudi Arabia's Media Empire: keeping the masses at home". International Communication Gazette.
  30. ^ Zayani, M.; Ayish, M. (2008). "Arab Satellite Television and Crisis Reporting". Journalism Practice. 2 (3): 15–26. doi​:​10.1080/17512780701768485​. S2CID 143651629.
  31. ^ "Major industry award and dynamic programming mark Al Arabiya's third anniversary Archived 14 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine". 4 March 2006.
  32. ^ "Arabiya TV Website Hacked Archived 13 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine". Kuwait Times. 11 October 2008.
  33. ^ Reporters Without Borders (29 October 2009). "Laid off for Implicating Emirates".
  34. ^ Al Arabiya News sacks 50 staff, including veteran journalists,, 25 May 2016
  35. ^ "IRAN: Al-Arabiya reporter banned from working". Menassat. 3 September 2008.
  36. ^ "Al Arabiya's Tehran bureau closed indefinitely". Al Arabiya. 21 June 2009. Retrieved 21 June 2009.
  37. ^ Fahs, Hassan (18 September 2012). "Al Arabiya's Tehran correspondent: this is why I was kicked out of Iran". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  38. ^ Merrill, Jamie (17 April 2017). "Al Arabiya faces UK ban for interview with tortured Bahraini". Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  39. ^ Whitaker, Brian (January 2018). "Saudi TV channel fined £120,000 by British broadcasting watchdog". Al-Bab. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  40. ^ Clover, Julian (26 January 2018). "Ofcom fines Arabic news channel". Broadband TV News. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  41. ^ Moore, Matthew (25 January 2018). "Ofcom fines Saudi-owned Al Arabiya channel for Bahraini torture interview". The Times. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  42. ^ "QNA hacking: Al Arabiya channel surrenders UK licence". Gulf Times. 15 February 2018. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  43. ^ "Al Arabiya surrenders UK broadcasting license over coverage of QNA hacking". The Peninsula. 15 February 2018. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  44. ^ "Maliki threatens to ban Al Arabiya News in Iraq". Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  45. ^ Itamar Radai (2007). "On the road to Damascus: Bashar al-Asad, Israel, and the Jews", Issue 9 of Posen papers in contemporary antisemitism. Vidal Sasson International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2007
  46. ^ Joe F. Khalil, Marwan M. Kraidy (2017). "Arab Television Industries", Bloomsbury Publishing, page 86.
  47. ^ Hammuda, Ahmed (29 January 2018). "Is Al-Arabiya Network really a refreshing alternative?". Middle East Monitor. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  48. ^ "U.S. army defends helicopter attack in Baghdad Archived 2 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine". Reuters. 15 September 2004.
  49. ^ "THREE MEDIA WORKERS KILLED; IFEX MEMBERS URGE RELEASE OF KIDNAPPED JOURNALISTS - IFEX". IFEX. Archived from the original on 28 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  50. ^ "Baker Atyani describes 'mental torture' of kidnap". Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  51. ^ Flanagan, Ben (11 December 2013). "Baker Atyani describes 'mental torture' of kidnap". Al Arabiya English. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  52. ^ Rawnsley, Adam (6 July 2020). "Right-Wing Media Outlets Duped by a Middle East Propaganda Campaign". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  53. ^ Vincent, James (7 July 2020). "An online propaganda campaign used AI-generated headshots to create fake journalists". The Verge. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  54. ^​
  55. ^​
  56. ^ a b "Al Arabiya anchor: how we got Obama exclusive". Al Arabiya. 28 January 2009.
  57. ^ "Al Arabiya News Global Discussion: Princess Rym of Jordan calls on Arab world to fight discrimination". Al Arabiya. 1 December 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
Further reading
Maysam Behravesh (2014). "Al Arabiya: The 'Saudispeak' of the Arab World". Asian Politics & Policy. 6 (2): 345–348. doi​:​10.1111/aspp.12103​.
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Last edited on 16 May 2021, at 06:36
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