Banned Saudi-owned TV channel to return to screens from Doha

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, Saudi billionaire and founder of Kingdom Holding Co., smiles while speaking at the Bloomberg Year Ahead: 2014 conference in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013. Alwaleed said President Barack Obama lacks a "comprehensive and coherent foreign policy" toward the Arab world. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Saudi Arabian-owned television channel that was pulled from screens hours after its launch last year is to re-launch in Qatar, according to local reports.

Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal is said to be launching the satellite channel Al Arab from Doha, Qatar, a year after it was allegedly banned for featuring a member of Bahrain’s political opposition.

Bin Talal has reportedly signed an agreement with the Qatari government and Al-Arab will be relaunched in the third quarter of this year.

The businessman first launched the 24-hour, pan-Arab news channel in February 2015.

However, within hours the news programme suddenly cut to a commercial break after the Bahraini opposition member criticised a government move of cancelling 72 Bahrainis’ citizenship.

A notice citing “technical and administrative reasons” then appeared, which was followed by a blackout.

At the time, Bahrain daily newspaper Akhbar Alkhaleej stated that the channel wasn’t “adhering to the norms prevalent in Gulf countries”.

Doha is already the home of the Middle East’s biggest news network Al Jazeera, which has in the past been lauded for its unbiased coverage of current affairs.

However, in recent years the Qatari royal family-owned station has faced a backlash for its allegedly one-sided coverage of the Syrian conflict.

 

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