Sky News Arabia, a 24-hour Arabic language news channel based in Abu Dhabi, began broadcasting on Sunday, pledging to be “objective” in its news coverage. The channel’s lead story was the French presidential election, with live coverage from the home of Francois Hollande, the front-runner in the poll, followed by a report on Syrian refugees on the Syria-Turkish border.
With a team of some 400 journalists, producers and technicians and 12 offices worldwide, Sky News Arabia, aims to compete with the Doha-based Al-Jazeera — the first rolling news broadcasting channel in the Arab world — and the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya based in Dubai. Another channel, Al-Arab, belonging to Saudi billionaire Al-Walid bin Talal, is expected to be launched in December 2012 in Bahrain. Based in Abu Dhabi, Sky News Arabia is a joint venture between BSkyB of London and Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation owned by Sheikh Mansur bin Zayed Al-Nahayan, a brother of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa.