Outspoken Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has launched a pan-Arab satellite news channel to challenge leading networks broadcasting in the Middle East.
Al-Arab News Channel started broadcasting at 1300 GMT on Sunday, and its lead story was about Japanese freelance journalist, Kenji Goto, whom Daesh claimed in a video released late on Saturday to have decapitated.
The Bahrain-based broadcaster will be the latest player in the Arabic-language television market, and a rival for Qatar-subsidized al-Jazeera and Dubai-based al-Arabiya stations.
Criticisms have been leveled against both al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya news networks for spreading their owners' political views, mainly during the 2011 wave of the Arab Awakening which swept through the Middle East and North Africa, and toppled autocratic rulers, such as Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi.
Al-Jazeera, established 19 years ago, drew Cairo’s ire over its coverage of public protests in the aftermath of the ouster of Egypt's first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, on July 3, 2013.
Al-Arabiya, which took to the air in 2003 and is owned by Sheikh Waleed al-Ibrahim, a brother-in-law of Saudi Arabia's late King Fahd, was also accused of following the Riyadh government’s diktats.
The news channel will have about 280 staff, including correspondents in 30 countries.
The 59-year-old Saudi business magnate and investor has complained about rampant and crouching corruption in state organizations in his country.
He has questioned Riyadh’s heavy-handed crackdown on anti-regime protests while supporting the militancy in Syria.
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