Last week, the Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG) and the UK-based Independent announced an exclusive licensing deal that will lead to the creation of four new online news services offering “the highest-quality, free-thinking, independent news, insight and analysis on global affairs and local events,” according to reports.
SRMG, the middle east’s biggest publisher whose mastheads include the english-language daily Arab News and many others, is a conglomerate with holdings in educational aids, advertising, distribution and printing in the region.
SRMG recently appointed a new chairman, Dr Ghassan bin Abdulrahman Al-Shibl, a prominent Saudi businessman who is also the chairman of Saudia, formerly Saudi Arabian Airlines, the state-owned carrier of Saudi Arabia. Al-Shibl has overseen the expansion of the airline’s services and fleet as well as efforts toward privatization.
Al-Shibl holds both a master’s degree and a PhD from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
According to the Independent, the new sites – Independent Arabia, Independent Urdu, Independent Turkish, and Independent Persian – will be owned and operated by SRMG. All editorial practices and output will conform to the world-renowned standards, code of conduct and established ethos of The Independent.