Prince Al-Waleed's TV launching in Qatar after Bahrain closure

Prince Al-Waleed's TV launching in Qatar after Bahrain closure
Al-Arab TV will start broadcasting out of Doha in September, according to sources in the channel, in a politically significant move by the country hosting the iconic Al-Jazeera channel
2 min read
13 Mar, 2016
Al-Arab TV was taken off the air after interviewing a Bahraini dissident last year [AFP]
Al-Arab News Channel, which is owned by Saudi prince and multibillionnaire Al-Waleed bin Talal, will launch in the third quarter of this year in Doha, Qatar, sources at the channel told The New Arab.

Al-Arab News Channel's previous efforts to launch out of London and Cyprus had failed. It launched briefly in Bahrain but was closed hours after going live.

The owner of the channel, Prince Al-Waleed, signed an agreement with the Qatari authorities a few weeks ago allowing it to broadcast out of Qatar where it will now be headquartered, according to the sources.

While the sources did not disclose details about the contents of the agreement, they said the Al-Arab News Channel crew will move to Doha soon. The sources indicated the channel would go on air in September.

The formerly Bahrain-based channel was taken off air hours after it interviewed a Bahraini dissident in February last year. At the time, the Bahraini authorities claimed the channel had not obtained the needed permits to broadcast.

The channel at the time rejected what it said were conditions set by the Ministry of Information of Bahrain to allow it to resume broadcasting, saying they would jeopardise its idependence and competetiveness.

In 2012, Prince Al-Waleed told CNN the planned channel was an attempt to fill "an opening for a more pragmatic and logical channel that really takes the centre's point of view".

Previous unconfirmed reports suggested Al-Arab News Channel would relocate to London or Cyprus.

The news meanwhile will no doubt raise many questions about its political significance. Qatar is home to Al-Jazeera channel, and allowing a Saudi-owned television to operate out of Doha will be surprising news to many.