Al Arabiya gears up for ‘unparalleled’ coverage of hajj

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Al Arabiya television is gearing up for “unparalleled” coverage of hajj this year, deploying around 50 reporters and technical crew to the Islamic holy lands, the channel’s hajj coverage coordinator in Dubai Mohamed Hadi Hannachi said on Thursday.

“No regional or international media outlet out there would outperform us this year in the coverage of hajj,” Hannachi said.

“We have deployed seven television reporters, three reporters for Al Arabiya Net [the channel’s Arabic website], one reporter for Al Arabiya English, seven photographers, and more than 30 broadcasting team members, including camera men, producers and technicians,” he added.

Khalid al-Matrafi, regional director of Al Arabiya TV in Saudi Arabia, said for the first time a female correspondent, Jomanah Khojah, will be reporting from the pilgrimage as part of Al Arabiya’s team.

“What more helps Al Arabiya’s coverage stand out is the extensive knowledge most of its reporters have about hajj and about every corner of the holy land,” Hannchi said.

Al Arabiya television and its four online platforms in Arabic, English, Farsi and Urdu, and its associated radio channels MBC FM and Panorama began their intensified hajj coverage on Oct. 1.

Both Al Arabiya English and Al Arabiya’s Arabic website have exclusive web pages dedicated to the coverage of hajj with daily stories and video reports about the annual gathering of more than two million Muslims from around the world.

However, the channel began to broadcast daily stories about the annual Muslim pilgrimage since Sept. 20, having broadcast so far interviews with 11 Saudi officials in charge of organizing the hajj, with the latest being an interview with the Makkah region’s Emir, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, who stressed that the logistical services of this year’s hajj are “unprecedented” in the history of the pilgrimage.

Al Arabiya English’s Editor-in-Chief Faisal Abbas said the website's hajj coverage this year will also be distinguished for having a reporter on the field feeding stories about foreign Muslim pilgrims from America, Europe, Asia and Africa. This he noted is in addition to reflecting Al Arabiya TV’s exclusive content.

“Our coverage will be in close coordination with other sections to make our exclusive stories available in all Al Arabiya platforms,” Abbas said.

“For example, Al Arabiya's Urdu website takes from us stories that are interesting to its readers, while we take from Al Arabiya TV and the Arabic website stories that are of interest to our audience,” Abbas added.

Al Arabiya Net’s Deputy Editor-in-Chief Fahad Saud, meanwhile, said the Arabic portal seeks to reflect the television’s coverage of hajj to millions of Arab online users. In addition, he said, the website will offer readers exclusive content produced by its field reports in hajj.

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