Al Jazirah (newspaper)
|Owner(s)||Mutlaq bin Abdullah|
|Founder(s)||Al Jazirah Corporation for Press, Printing and Publishing|
|Publisher||Al Jazirah Corporation for Press, Printing and Publishing|
|Editor-in-chief||Khalid bin Hamd Al Malik|
|Political alignment||Conservative and pro-Islamic; pro-government|
|Circulation||123,097 (January–June 2013)|
|Sister newspapers||Al Masaiya|
Al Jazirah (in Arabic الجزيرة meaning The Island) is a daily Arabic newspaper published in Saudi Arabia. Its sister newspaper is Al Masaiya, is the only afternoon newspaper in the country with limited influence and readership.
History and profile
Al Jazirah was established in 1960 by Al Jazirah Corporation. The chairman of the newspaper is Mutlaq bin Abdullah. Othman Al Omeir who currently owns the liberal Arabic e-newspaper Elaph was a member of the paper's board of directors. Furthermore, he was a sport correspondent in the early 1970s and later, London correspondent of the paper. In 1977, Abdel Rahman Al Rashid was appointed editor-in-chief of the daily, who also served as a correspondent and later as its Washington bureau chief from 1981 to 1985. The current editor-in-chief of the newspaper is Khalid bin Hamd Al Malik.
The paper is said to have a limited circulation and is not widespread in contrast to the other Saudi papers. However, it is widely distributed in Saudi Arabia and in other Arab and European countries. Global Investment House reported the market share of the paper as around 6.0% in November 2009. In 2008, Al Jazirah became the first Saudi daily which reported its subscription numbers and sales. It is also the first Saudi newspaper to announce its circulation figures quoting the National Distribution Company, a third party company owned equally by Saudi newspapers. The paper underwent its first circulation audit in November 2009.
Al Jazirah had a circulation of 85,000 copies in 2001. The daily's circulation was given as 93,000 by Western media observers in 2002. The estimated circulation of the paper in 2003 was 80,000 copies. Its 2007 circulation figure is given to be 110,000 by World Association of Newspapers. The confirmed circulation of the paper is reported to be more than 131,000 copies in June 2008. The circulation of the daily, which was confirmed by the BPA, was 125,415 copies for the last six months of 2011. For the first six-month period of 2013 the paper had a circulation of 123,097 copies.
Influence and awards
It is argued that Al Jazirah is one of four leading Saudi daily newspapers along with Al Watan, Al Riyadh and Al Madina. At the beginning of the 1990s, Al Jazirah and Al Riyadh competed against each other to be more influential than the other.
The paper was awarded the best print prize in Asia by IFRA in Manila in 2007 and its website was awarded the digital excellence award by the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in 2007. In addition, the editors of the paper were invited by the World Association of Newspapers to its 2007 conference held in South Africa. It was the first invitation of the association for a Saudi daily.
Al Jazirah usually publishes reports and interviews concerning national, Arab and international issues. The paper is mostly known for its daily supplements on different topics such as economy, sports, culture, computers, medicine and science. It also has a weekly supplement, Telecom and Digital World. It also carries cartoons.
The Arab Press Network states that the paper extensively covers the activities of the ruling Saudi family and adopts an uncritical approach towards the government's policies on most of its 60 daily pages. It is further discussed that its columnists and the debate they initiate are both weak. Then minister of health Ghazi Al Gosaibi's poem written for King Fahd, entitled "A Pen Bought and Sold", was published on the front page of the paper in 1984. In the poem, Al Gosaibi indirectly accused the ruling elites, including Prince Sultan, then Minister of Defence, of corruption and Saudi Oger of improper tender activities regarding the public hospitals. King Fahd fired him after reading the poem.
On 3 and 10 January 2002, a commentary by Muhammad bin Saad al Shuwayir was published in the paper. The commentary was entitled "Why Pork Is Forbidden?”. The author said that the transformation of the Jews into apes and pigs was a punishment "because monkeys and pigs were considered among the lowliest of animals, in nature and manners". He further stated that Jews always represent the human lowness, as expressed in Quran. Jasser Abdulaziz al Jasser, a columnist of Al Jazirah, criticised Russia, especially Sergey Lavrov, for supporting Assad regime's Alawite minority rule over a Sunni majority in Syria on 24 March 2012. Al Jasser argued that the same tactics used by Russia to oppress Muslim majority in Chechnya and the Caucasus were employed by Assad to oppress Sunni majority in Syria. Al Jazirah's front page on 17 June 2012 was entirely in black and white, showing photographs of King Abdullah and late Crown Prince Nayef, who died in Geneva on 16 June 2012.
In September 2008, a reporter of the paper, Fahd al Jukhaidib, wrote an article in which he described frequent power cuts in Qubba in northern Saudi Arabia. The article also informed the readers about a protest in front of the government-owned electricity company as a result of power cuts experienced. Upon publication of his article, he was sentenced in October 2008 to two months in prison and 50 lashes for inciting the public to protest against a series of electric power reductions. He was free on appeal in 2009.
Al Jazirah seems not to be conservative in terms of using technology to provide advanced technological platforms to its readers. The paper is the first Saudi daily in launching online website that was formed in 1996. It is also the first daily paper in the Middle East to launch mobile phone application which had more than 50,000 users in 2013. In addition to these technological innovations, Al Jazirah is also innovative in launching first online women's daily covering female achievements in Saudi Arabia, latest developments and other topics related to women.
In 2013, the daily cooperated with Goss International for press upgrade, refurbishment and relocation venture.
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