We get that at times. A question regarding the news, not what they bring, but what they are. I was left with a few questions today when I took notice of ‘Saudi news channels start moving operations out of Dubai’ (at https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2021/9/1/saudi-news-channels-start-moving-operations-out-of-dubai). Just as the BBC is in London, the NOS is in the Netherlands (Hilversum), Swedish News is predominantly in Stockholm. I always assumed that Saudi News was in Riyadh, so to see that they were in Dubai which is a nice and large town in another nation was a little bit of a surprise. So as I take notice of “Riyadh has told international firms to put their MidEast hubs there by the start of 2024 or risk losing out on business” has a certain amount of sense.
The question becomes who offers more, Dubai or Riyadh? I am not talking money, even though for the international stations that will be some part of it. Dubai has its yachts, its connected jet-setting, yet what does Riyadh offer? It is a genuine question. I must admit that I only recently saw Riyadh through the eyes of YouTuber Jason Billiam Travel, and he did an excellent job, if you have never been to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the view that (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xk_4wPK6oks) where I got my first glimpse of the Kingdom Tower at the beginning of the video no less. He was able to give me a clear impression that Riyadh, the capital is larger than the entire nation of Bahrein and he gives us a lot more over several movies, more on Riyadh and more on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. There is one element that there is no yacht club in Saudi Arabia. If I had the ability to create one in Riyadh, I would. Even if it is just to set aside my sense of humour as the nearest decent amount of water is almost 400Km away (Sea of Dammam, aka the Persian gulf), so the idea to have a restaurant in the building that represents a yacht would be a fun idea. A place where 8 million people live and most have never seen a boat with their own eyes, so to create a concrete yacht that is a restaurant and optionally an international hotel will get the eyes of a lot of people. But we were talking about the news and Al Jazeera also gives us “Saudi Arabian news channels are starting to transfer operations out of Dubai amid a push by the country’s crown prince to get multinational companies to relocate their headquarters to the kingdom” and it makes sense, although it would have made initial more sense to have Saudi news offices in Saudi Arabia, but that is merely me and it is a thought that is based on the idea that news channels should be local. So when I see “Saudi Arabia has been pressuring international companies to put their Middle East hubs in the kingdom by the start of 2024 or risk losing out on business in the region’s largest economy” I do realise that too many people will focus on ‘pressuring international companies’, yet is that fair? Consider that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia should award business to its local parties, so Dubai has benefitted with its Media centre to the largest degree for well over a decade. And the reason seen in “The move is intended to limit “economic leakage” and boost job creation” makes perfect sense.
There are actually two additional reasons to contemplate, whether it is all news is in the middle. With that shift the media will get a lot more exposure to Neom city as well as the tourist visibility places that Riyadh has to offer, the Kingdom Tower is merely one of them. The Grand Mosque of Riyadh is according to many another one.
The entire setting made me wonder why Saudi news was not set on a local premise in the first place. I am not saying it was wrong, I am merely wondering what was the reasoning in the first place. There are many valid reasons that come to mind, yet none of these have been tested at present and with Neom City now a mere 9 years away, the local presence seem to make more and more sense. There is of course more, there is a larger stage to promote Jeddah as well, we can argue that this could be done from either place, but I have seen on how minds get distracted from other places as the distance increases and Dubai is very far away from Jeddah, it is not enough a reason, but it is one and consider that in the last 24 hours globally ‘Neom’ was mentioned 10 times. One in Chinese, three in Arabic and the rest in English, in a world where there are thousands of publication, 10 mentions? Yes the news needs adjusting and perhaps it starts with getting the international news stations local. As I see it it is a lot less about economic leakage and more about ignoring Saudi events, in this the Houthi attacks on civilian Saudi targets might finally get the exposure it deserves.
Will it still be news after the switch? I hope not, as it had been happening for too long, but that is merely my 2 coins on the subject.