Two English dailies prepare for launch in Middle East

DUBAI - Two new daily English-language newspapers are to be launched in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, the latter of which will be edited by former Daily Telegraph editor Martin Newland.

Newland has been signed up to edit the Abu Dhabi paper, which is currently nameless, while the publishers of Bahrain's Arabic language daily Al Wasat are preparing for the launch of the Bahrain Observer.

The newly formed Abu Dhabi Media Company, which is fully owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, is behind the proposed launch of the Newland-edited paper, although there is currently no set date for the launch. It is understood that 200 staff from around the world will eventually be recruited.

Abu Dhabi Media was formed in June this year and has taken over the ownership of Abu Dhabi Satellite Channel, Abu Dhabi Sport Channel, Abu Dhabi Radio, Emarat FM Radio, Holy Quran Radio, Al Ittihad newspaper, and magazines Zahrat Al Khaleej and Al Super and Majid.

However, this will be the first English language daily to be printed in Abu Dhabi, the majority preferring to do business in Dubai.

No launch date has been given for the Bahrain Observer either, although Dr Mansoor Al-Jamri, editor-in-chief of Al Wasat, said: "We are planning to launch an English newspaper, and this has been in the pipeline for sometime, but we are awaiting the finalisation of several prerequisites."

New newspapers pop up all over the place in the Gulf, although most of them of are of questionable quality. ITP's planned Arabian Business Standard has failed to materialise at all. However, news channel Al Jazeera is still backing the launch a pan-Arab daily, while Oman's Al Zaman began publishing earlier this month, and 25 licenses for new newspapers were recently granted in Yemen.