Saudis set to bow news satcaster

Channel to begin transmission in early January

MILAN — Following the success of Arab satcasters Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya and Abu Dhabi TV, Saudi Arabia will launch its own satellite news channel this month, according to Culture & Information Minister Dr. Fouad Al-Farsy.

“Preparations are in the final stages. The channel will start transmission by the middle of the pilgrimage month of Dul Qaada (early January),” the minister said in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency.

He said the channel would “strive for credibility and a swift response to news of national, Arab and international importance.”

Programs will cover events in the kingdom and worldwide, plus live talkshows about topical issues.

The launch of the news channel is an important step for Saudi Arabia, where local TV channels are considered less professional and news-oriented than other channels in the area.

In the Middle East and North Africa, many satellite services have bowed in the last few years.

Meanwhile, Saudi radio has started experimental transmission over the Internet at http://www.saudiradio.net

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