- Overall, we rate Arab News Questionable due to excessive government censorship that results in the publication of pro-state propaganda. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to the omission of key facts in stories and misleading one-sided reporting.
Reasoning: Poor Sourcing, Propaganda
Country: Saudi Arabia
World Press Freedom Rank: Saudi Arabia 170/180
Launched in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz, Arab News is an English-language newspaper, based in Jeddah/Saudi Arabia. Arab News features local, regional, and international affairs, business, entertainment, lifestyle, sports, and more. Arab News is published by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC) and the editor-in-chief is Faisal J. Abbas. Abdulrahman Al-Ruweite is the Chairman of the Saudi Research & Marketing Group.
Funded by / Ownership
Arab News is owned by The Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG). Saudi Research and Marketing Group’s main shareholder is The National Commercial Bank (NCB) also known as AlAhli Bank which is owned by the Saudi Government through the Public Investment Fund (PIF). Revenue is derived through advertising,
Analysis / Bias
In 2020 Reporters Without Borders ranked Saudi Arabia 170/180 in their Press Freedom Index, stating that “Saudi Arabia permits no independent media. The authorities keep Saudi journalists under close surveillance, even when they are abroad, as Jamal Khashoggi’s murder in Istanbul in October 2018 illustrated.”
In review, Arab News publishes articles with emotionally loaded language such as “Governor of Saudi Arabia’s Jouf province praises efforts to provide housing during virus outbreak.” Arab News reports single-sided news information dedicated to praising the Royal family, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s achievements such as this: “When a Saudi went to space” and “UN envoy congratulates Saudi Arabia for brokering Yemen peace deal”. Under the section “Deep Dive” there is a subsection called “preachers of hate” dedicated to exposing extremist anti-Muslim activists around the world. One of them is “Pamela Geller” who we have rated as questionable due to the promotion of anti-Islamic propaganda.
On issues such as women’s rights, Arab News report with a pro-reform stance. For example, they have a page dedicated to women called “Faces of Saudi”. When it comes to sourcing, Arab News poorly sources and does not provide hyperlinks, however when covering world news under the section “Media” they utilize credible sources such as AFP, AP, and Reuters by republishing their articles.
While the news is generally reported factually, it is one-sided and always favorable to the Government and especially Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. For example, regarding the Khashoggi murder, they continue to report that the Crown Prince is not involved despite evidence implicating him: Khashoggi’s son denounces ‘enemies of Saudi Arabia’ for exploiting his father’s murder. They also frequently report negatively and without evidence on rival countries such as Iran, Iran ‘hides 500,000 virus cases,’ says member country’s anti-virus taskforce. In general, this is a source that promotes pro-state propaganda.
Failed Fact Checks
- None found.
Overall, we rate Arab News Questionable due to excessive government censorship that results in the publication of pro-state propaganda. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to the omission of key facts in stories and misleading one-sided reporting. (8/29/2016) Updated (M. Huitsing 6/05/2020)