A who’s who of Arab politics and media descended on Dubai to mark the fifth anniversary of pan-Arab media group MBC’s news channel Al Arabiya.
Former Lebanese president Amin Gemayel and former Lebanese prime ministers Salim Al Hoss and Najib Mikati led their country’s delegation, which also included LBC boss Pierre Daher, Future TV chief Nadim Munla and NTV owner Tahsin Khayat.
“Over the past five years we have endeavoured to turn Al Arabiya into a reliable source of information and news not only about politics but also encompassing economics, business and breaking news,” said MBC Group founder and CEO Sheikh Waleed Al Ibrahim.
“We worked to relay news based on objectivity, balance, honesty and credibility and away from incitement, exaggeration and emotive exploitation, at the same time striving to lay down bridges of communication and dialogue between cultures and civilisations.”
MBC Al Arabiya chief Abdul Rahman Al Rashed brought some levity to the proceedings by gently mocking the notorious propensity of Arab politicians for interminably long speeches. “I had prepared a speech, but my boss has told me I’ve only got three minutes,” said Al Rashed, pulling out a hefty pad of papers and throwing them to the ground to the amusement of the crowd.
Al Arabiya was launched in 2003 and has spent much of the past five years jostling for market share with Al Jazeera. The station is seen by some people in the region to espouse a more moderate slant than its Qatar-based rival.
Minister of Cabinat Affairs and Dubai Holding executive chairman Mohammed Al Gergawi, was joined at the high-powered media event by Palestinian politicians Saeb Erakat and Yasser Abed Rabbo, and Amina Al Rustamani, executive director Tecom Investments.
Al Arabiya news channel turns five in style