If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Buy ‘Em

The Arab world’s two most widely distributed dailies are Al- Hayat and Al-Sharq al-Awsat. The former is published in Cairo, Lebanon and London. It’s owned by Prince Khalid Bin Sultan, nephew of the king and commander of the Saudi forces in the Gulf War. Al- Sharq al-Awsat, which appears in Riyadh, New York, Cairo and a half- dozen other Arab and Western cities, is controlled by Prince Salman Bin Abd al-Aziz, the king’s brother and governor of Riyadh, and his son. That’s not all: Khalid also owns one of the major weeklies in the Arab world, Al-Wasat, and Salman owns another, Al-Majallah, both published in London. If you’re an Arab reader, it’s likely that an employee of a Saudi prince is writing your news.

The newest additions to the Saudi media empire are three satellite networks: Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC); Arab Radio and Television (ART); and Orbit Communications Company. MBC is owned by Sheikh Walid al-Ibrahim, a brother-in-law of King Fahd, who also owns the Arab Network of America, a U.S. Arabic-language broadcast network. Orbit is owned by Khalid Bin Abdallah Bin Abd al- Rahman, another brother-in-law of Fahd. Salih Kamil, a Saudi with close ties to the ruling family, owns ART. Orbit does broadcast American TV shows that hardly fit Saudi puritanism.

Full Text:  “If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Buy ‘Em,” The Jerusalem Report, November 16, 1995, p. 48.

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