RIYADH (AFP) – Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom group controlled by tycoon Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said on Tuesday it would launch a regional 24-hour news channel to be headed by prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The new channel “will focus on development in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world on the political, economic and social fronts,” Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said in a statement.
The channel, which will make use of a network of reporters from across Arab countries, will enter a field already dominated by tough competition between Qatar-based Al-Jazeera and the Saudi-controlled Al-Arabiya.
“We no longer have a void in the Arab world as it is now heavily occupied,” Alwaleed acknowledged in the statement.
“Therefore the new news channel is going to become an addition and an alternative for viewers. Our personal aim is to achieve this.”
The statement gave no name for the new channel, and it only said the launch would be in the “near future.” A Kingdom spokeswoman declined to give any more details.
The statement also said the new channel would be independent of Alwaleed’s Rotana regional media and entertainment group, which earlier this year sold a nine percent stake to global media giant News Corp, owner of the Fox News channel.
Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist and editor closely linked to the Al-Faisal wing of the royal family, was named to lead the new channel.
In May Khashoggi was forced out from his position at the helm of the influential Saudi newspaper Al-Watan after the daily published an opinion column that outraged religious conservatives.