The Media of Princes, A new study from ANHRI explores how Saudi Arabia controls the Arab media

Cairo – 27 August 2017

Today, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) announced the release of a new research study entitled “The Media of Princes.. How did Saudi Arabia gain control?” , which explores the reasons behind Saudi Arabia’s domination and control of the Arab media , or large percentage of it , by entirely owning media outlets , newspapers, news channels , and entertainment TV stations. The study also answers a number of questions, such as why do Saudi Arabia put its money and investment in the Arab media, especially the Egyptian one ? Does this deem a mere investment, or are there other purposes like promoting some certain political views ? Do media outlets, which are owned by Saudi businessmen and Emirs (princes), have an objective media role, or do they just aim to send certain massages ?

The booklet, which is released in 70 pages of medium cut papers, also addresses a group of aspects that show the manifestations of the Saudi Arabia’s control of the Arab media. The first aspect is linked to the mechanics in which Saudi Arabia use Hajj (pilgrimage) visas to avoid any criticism by the Egyptian newspapers against the rulers and princes of the kingdom. Under the title “ Why this control?”, the booklet shows some means by which the Kingdom presents and generalizes its view and stance towards hostile countries like Iran .

Furthermore, the booklet has a quick review of Saudi Arabia’s role in blocking the websites of Qatari media channels, including “AL-JAZEERA” and other Qatari newspapers’ websites, and how this was spread to other Arab countries .

It also examines the relationship towards the private sector that owns media outlets, and how it theoretically owns all newspapers publish there, but on the other hand they are under the control of the Saudi government. The study also sheds the light on Al-TorkI- Ben Salman”, a saudi prince” having a major shareholding in “ ELSharq-El-Awsat” newspaper- as well the reasons behind its release- and “ AL-Hayah” newspaper, released from London, not from the kingdom, this is in addition to the difference between it and other newspapers released from KSA.

In the “TV” section, the booklet explores why Saudi Arabia were at the forefront although it was historically late in its TV broadcasting, as the official broadcast of the Saudi TV was launched in 1965, five years after the Egyptian one , as well as  why all this channels are broadcasting from outside KSA?

The booklet also highlighted the most important empires controlling the Arab media , on top of them are: ( walid al Ibrahim ) the owner of MBC and ( AL hadath ), ( shahid) and ( al Walid Ben Talal ) the owner of ( Rotana) ( Al-Resala ).

This study – written by journalist Ahmed Samir- brings back to mind the report that The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) in 2007 entitled “ who pays the price .. the Egyptian newspapers advertising to beautify Tunisian dictatorship “ which shed the light on how the Tunisian dictator pays for some newspapers and journalists for polishing his image . Meanwhile, the current study explores how the Saudis established a whole media empire for a role that doesn’t differ much.

We will provide hard copies of the study at the  (ANHRI)  quarter , as for the journalists and the persons interested, they can also download soft copies of it from that link .