Dubai, Asharq Al-Awsat –The Director General of the Al-Arabiya News Channel, Abdul-Rahman al-Rashed has announced that he is postponing his resignation as head of Al-Arabiya, and also denied reports that he has been suspended from writing for Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. In a statement issued by Al-Rashed, he stressed that he was surprised by the attempts made by some to “turn an unintended editorial blunder into a political matter, under different labels, wrongly implicating colleagues both at Al Arabiya and Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.” The statement added that “all of these claims were fabricated and inaccurate to their last detail.”
A number of Arab newspapers and news websites have claimed that Al-Rashed has been suspending from writing for Asharq Al-Awsat, although Asharq Al-Awsat Editor in Chief, Tariq Alhomayed, has stressed that these reports are completely untrue, clarifying that al-Rashed himself had taken the decision to stop sending articles to the newspaper.
As for his resignation as Director General of Al-Arabiya, Al-Rashed clarified that he has postponed his resignation for the time being, and that he intends to continue working for the MBC group – that owns Al-Arabiya – in any appropriate capacity. Al-Rashed also revealed that he received a telephone call from the Chairman of the MBC group, Sheikh Waleed Bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, officially informing him that his resignation was not being accepted.
In the statement issued by al-Rashed, he said “I confirm that I will remain with MBC group in any appropriate capacity. Accordingly, I am postponing my resignation for the time being, to have more time to think, ponder, and work.”
He added that “it is unfortunate that some have tried to capitalize on the inadvertence that occurred on-screed in order to harm the channel itself, and actually launch an attack against it, simply because Al-Arabiya has become a foremost beacon in the media scene, something that doesn’t sit well with them.”
Al-Rashed also said that “the nature of my job requires me to assume responsibility for everything that is aired; this is part of the ethics and duties of this profession, I’m not coming up with anything new. Al-Arabiya today is not just a news channel; it actually embodies rationality, moderation, objectivity and balance in Arab society, which are quite rare nowadays and which is naturally what makes us a direct target to those who oppose this. Al-Arabiya did not only rectify some misconceptions during the past seven years but, it also straightened out the trajectory of Arab media and paved its way towards a better path. This achievement is common ground shared by all that work for Al-Arabiya, and not specific to any one individual.”
As for rumours about mass resignations at Al-Arabiya, al-Rashed’s statement reiterated what the MBC Chairman said previously, stressing that “these are stories that are absolutely devoid of truth, and have nothing to do at all with my resignation, which is a strictly administrative matter. Some have tried as hard as they could to make a big issue out of it; the MBC Group includes more than 1,500 people, most of whom are armed with skills, talent, experience and real passion for their jobs.”
For his part, MBC Chairman Sheikh Walid Bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim issued a statement on Wednesday confirming that the news about mass resignations at Al-Arabiya “is fabricated and devoid of truth.”
Asharq Al-Awsat Editor in Chief, Tariq Alhomayed, categorically denied that Asharq Al-Awsat has suspended al-Rashed from publication, and in statements to the Saudi Arabian “al-Madina” newspaper last week, Mr. Alhomayed revealed that al-Rashed had chosen to stop sending articles to the newspaper, and that Asharq Al-Awsat has not received an article from him for a number of days. Tariq Alhomayed told al-Madina that “we have tried to get in contact with him over the past two days, and the officials in charge of the opinion pages at the newspaper have [also] tried to contact him, but we have not been able to.” He added “We have not had any response from him until now, and in my capacity as Editor in Chief of Asharq Al-Awsat I repeat and reiterate that the newspaper has not sent any messageto al-Rashed informing him to stop [writing]; this is completely untrue.”