Arab News launches new Hajj App

Saudi Arabian-based newspaper, Arab News has launched new smartphone application, Hajj App. Officially sponsored by the Muslim World League, the Hajj app aims to provide comprehensive coverage of the Hajj pilgrimage and will offer the latest news updates from Arab News as well as live broadcast service. The application will also include features such as an optional pilgrim tracker function to enable users to switch on and share their location, follow family and friends in real time, get emergency call number and a list of all embassies and other important services during Hajj.

“This Arab News and Muslim World League cooperation is an ideal and practical example of a media outlet working with a non-governmental organisation for the public good,” says Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief, Arab News. “Launching this app is part of Arab News’ digital transformation and provides readers and English-speaking pilgrims added value and a very useful service.”

Arab News makes global structural changes

Saudi Arabian-based newspaper, Arab News has launched two new bureaus in Europe and Asia as a part of its global, digital expansion plan. The new launch has been followed by the appointment of Baker Atyani to the role of Southeast Asia Bureau Chief, who brings with him experience in journalism, having covered stories on conflict zones in the region and previously worked with Al Arabiya as Bureau Chief – Asia, and most recently as its Senior International Correspondent. In his new role, he will spearhead Arab News’ coverage of Asia across print, online and video with a particular focus on India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Arab News’ digital expansion will also see the promotion of Ben Flanagan to the role of London Bureau Chief. With 16 years of experience working on national newspapers and news portals, Ben most recently held the position of Senior Editor at Arab News. He will now take on his new role to lead the operations of the new bureau in London and cover the UK and Europe from an Arab perspective, with a particular focus on politics, business and investment to serve as a digital hub for the newspaper.

“The new bureaus support the newspaper’s ‘more digital, more global’ strategy,” says Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief, Arab News. “It is a great pleasure for us to have these two exceptionally experienced and incredibly capable journalists heading up our crucial Asia and UK operations. This inevitably adds much value to our readers who will be sure to get the best relevant content and stories from across these regions.”

Al Arabiya hosts Lord Bell

Al Arabiya English hosted communications veteran Lord Timothy Bell, Chairman of public relations firm Bell Pottinger, as part of a panel discussion on the PR industry last Thursday, March 10. The event was moderated by Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief, Al Arabiya English and attended by government representatives, public relations industry professionals and senior journalists, as part of an ongoing series – Al Arabiya News Global Discussions, an initiative created by Al Arabiya News during its relaunch in order to bolster understanding, encourage dialogue and find ways to bridge the communication gap between the MENA region and the rest of the world. Lord Bell offered his opinions on a number of topics, including Britain’s membership in the EU, the ‘war of words’ against ISIS as well as the rise of social media and how this has brought more opportunities to reach more specific audiences.

“The essence of public relations is to use third party endorsement to inform and persuade…none of that has changed,” says Lord Bell, referring to social and digital media and the PR process. “It’s the same skill and the art of it is to have an idea that you communicate with the same power to capture the imagination of the people you’re talking to, which makes them change the way they think and the way they behave.”




Al Arabiya News marks International Women’s Day

Al Arabiya News is marking this year’s International Women’s Day, which falls on the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration on gender equality, with special coverage profiling the world’s leading women and their contribution to society. The coverage is set to highlight the Middle East’s most pressing issues on the status of women in the region.

Gender-related violence, education and women in the workforce are among the topics being addressed, as well as a look back at prominent women in Arab history and profiles on leading women in the fields of politics, philanthropy, media, technology, business and architecture.

“Since this International Women’s Day marks the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration, we felt that resembles an ideal opportunity to look back and reflect on the challenges and achievements of women in our part of the world over the past two decades,” says Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief, Al Arabiya News. “Sadly, many Arab women continue to face deprivation of many of their basic rights, as well as discrimination and violence; however, this means that women who actually succeed and manage to achieve an outstanding status deserve an even bigger round of applause from all of us, given that they are making it despite these challenges. These are the women we hope to shed the light on, as we see them as a beacon of hope for generations to come.”

Al Arabiya News’ coverage is being inaugurated today on the eve of International Women’s Day, with an exclusive opinion piece by former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and a special report on gender-related violence in the Middle East. Among the profiled Arab success stories being profiled throughout the week are Palestinian Legislator Hanan Ashrawy; Lebanese writer and activist Joumana Hadad; Egyptian Minister for Social Solidarity Ghada Fathi Ismail Wali; CEO of Abu Dhabi’s twofour54 Nora al-Kaabi and Facebook’s UAE-based Head of Brand Amira Rashad.