Fox loves the Islamic world so much that the TV news company is planning a 24-hour Arabic-language news channel. Fox is partnering with Al-Waleed bin Talal, a mid-ranking prince in the sprawling Saudi royal family and an international businessman so successful that Time nicknamed him an "Arabian Warren Buffett." The new channel will compete with the existing Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera networks for access to the world's 300 million native Arabic speakers. The United Arab Emirates National's Ben Flanagan reports:
Prince Alwaleed had previously said his news channel would not be produced through Kingdom Holding or his media company Rotana Holding, but would instead follow the business model of [Rupert] Murdoch’s Fox and Sky News channels. The move further cements business ties between Prince Alwaleed and Mr Murdoch’s News Corp empire, which owns Fox. Prince Alwaleed has a 7 per cent stake in News, and in February News agreed to pay US$70 million (Dh257.1m) for a 9.09 per cent stake in Rotana.
The latter deal, the largest Middle East investment by Mr Murdoch, included an option to increase its stake to 18.18 per cent in the 18 months after completion.
He expressed his interest in the Middle East media at the inaugural Abu Dhabi Media Summit last March. Mr Murdoch said the creative industries in the Arab world had great potential but growth depended on governments applying a “light hand” to matters such as protectionism and censorship.
The media mavens at Fox News may need some time to prepare for their new Arabic-speaking audience. Here's an example of Fox's past coverage of the region, which Iraqi viewers may object to:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.