Sky News Arabia to launch on 6 May 2012


Sky News Arabia, the latest 24-hour rolling news channel for the Arabic speaking market, is to be unveiled across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) on 6 May 2012.

The TV channel will be available free to air on transponder 14 on Arabsat Badr 4, transponder 15 on Nilesat 201, and in high definition (HD) as part of the OSN pay-TV bouquet. In addition, viewers in the UAE will be able to receive Sky News Arabia via the internet protocol television (IPTV) services offered by Du and Etisalat.

"The Sky News Arabia idea was born more than two years ago. Our aim has been to create an impartial and independent breaking news channel for the Arab world across multiple platforms. It has been a huge collaborative team effort resulting in the most technically advanced news operation in the region. We have nearly 400 of the best journalists, reporters, presenters, producers and broadcast technicians working together to create an unparalleled news channel," said Nart Bouran, head of Sky News Arabia.

"Sky News Arabia will offer the MENA region a fresh approach to television news with an independent editorial mandate at the heart of everything we do."

The channel will be supported by an Editorial Advisory Committee, comprising Dr Sulaiman Al Hattlan, chief executive, Arab Strategy Forum; Roger Alton, executive editor, The Times; Chris Birkett, executive editor, Sky News; Ahmed Al Blooshi, director general, Emirates Media Inc; Nart Bouran, head, Sky News Arabia; Martin Edelman, counsel, Paul Hastings LLP; and James Zogby, author of Arab Voices and founder and president of the Arab American Institute.

"We are looking forward to working with Sky News Arabia to support the channel's aim to present an independent evaluation of the news agenda, free of external influence," said the committee's chairman, James Zogby.

"It will have clear, unambiguous standards, upheld by an editorial charter that sets the framework for world-class news delivery as well as creating a new culture for Arab journalism."

Now in 24-hour rehearsal mode, the Abu Dhabi-based broadcaster is a joint venture between Abu Dhabi Media Investment Company (ADMIC) and British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB), in which Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation is the largest shareholder.

The channel will compete against popular pan-Arab satellite networks such as Qatar-based Al Jazeera and MBC's Al Arabiya, as well as a host of Arab language news channels from international broadcasters such as the BBC, France 24, and Russia Today.

Saudi billionaire and significant News Corp shareholder, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is also in the process of setting up another Arabic news channel in conjunction with Bloomberg. Based in Bahrain, Al Arab TV is expected to launch in December 2012.

Meanwhile, the Sky News Arabia website launched in Beta format in February, and the channel has already attracted over 100,000 fans on Facebook and Twitter.