Bahraini government has signed agreements with Saudi tycoon Prince Alwaleed bin Talal paving the way to move his Rotana news and entertainment company from Cairo to the Gulf island state, the official Bahrain News Agency reported on Wednesday.
The move comes at a time when Prince Alwaleed is set to launch Alarab, a 24-hour news channel during the first half of 2013 to compete with heavy weights like Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya and the newly-launched Sky News Arabia satellite news channels.
Prince Alwaleed was quoted as saying that the moving of Rotana from Cairo to Manama and choosing the troubled Gulf state’s capital as the headquarters of his Alarab news channel is an “important strategic decision with many important consequences.”
He added that the move was made after thoroughly studying several Arab capitals and cities.
The state-run news agency quoted the Saudi prince as saying that Bahrain is enjoying considerable freedom of expression and open dialogue despite attempts by a minority to oppose it, in reference to the anti-government protests that have gripped the Gulf state since February last year.
Alarab news channel is the latest addition to a dozen of Rotana’s channels, which include LBC and FOX group. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has a 20% stake in Rotana media group.
The launch of Alarab channel, originally slated for this year, has been delayed due to unknown reasons.