U.K.'s BSkyB, Partner Launch Sky News Arabia

BSkyB Satellite - Sign - 2010
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The news network, which is a venture of the News Corp.-controlled pay TV firm and Abu Dhabi Media Investment, will challenge al-Jazeera and other established players.

LONDON - U.K pay TV giant BSkyB, in which Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. owns a 39 percent stake, has launched pan-Arab news network Sky News Arabia in co-operation with Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corp., the Guardian reported Monday.

The Abu Dhabi company is owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan who owns British soccer team Manchester City.

The new news network, which has spent the past year hiring staff and hopes to make a name for itself in one of the globe's fast-growing regions for media and entertainment, will compete with such other news providers in the region as al-Jazeera, al-Arabiya and Alarab.

"They are going to see that we are different," Sky News Arabia head Nart Bouran told the Guardian, touting the channel's independence. "The issue of balance is going to distinguish us." Its regional rivals have touted the same virtue though, the paper pointed out.

However, the new network will have editorial oversight. Roger Alton, the executive editor of the News Corp.-owned Times of London, and Chris Birkett, the executive editor of Sky News, will sit on the a six-person editorial advisory board. Said Bouran: "It's not just going to be left to me and my team."

He explained the network's programming focus this way: "We won't have political programming, long discussions about issues. If we have analysis, it will be about what's happening at the time. We won't get two guys [in a discussion] who just want to kill each other."

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai