More media launches in the Gulf – Newsweek Middle East and Inc.

Who wouldn’t want to be a publisher in the Gulf right now? While the industry is losing money left, right and center in the US (and in Europe), the Gulf is seeing a glut of publication launches. The newest titles are Newsweek Middle East and Inc. Newsweek Middle East was launched recently by ARY Digital Network, a Pakistani television company. Their first issue was launched in English at the end of October and an Arabic edition is also in the pipeline. The website is The publication’s two front pages are below, along with a short video from their Twitter feed (the team have accounts on Facebook and on Instagram, and for those of you young uns out there, they are also running a Snapchat account under the name @NewsweekME).

The second publication, which is yet to launch is Inc. magazine, a monthly publication focusing on fast-growth companies. To be based in Qatar, the publication has been hiring journalists from Dubai publishers and should launch by the turn of the year in both English and Arabic.

While the launches of local editions for two global titles is to be welcomed, especially the Arabic-language editions, the question is if/when will this region suffer the same slowdown in terms of ad sales (Newsweek stopped publishing in the US for sometime in 2012 and 2013 and went fully digital for a year). With the Gulf becoming a global pioneer in terms of digital firsts among consumers (for example smartphone penetration, social media usage), will advertisers realize there’s more ROI to be had in advertising online rather than in print? Let’s wait and find out.

The concept of bona fide and the threat to the UAE’s classifieds industry

If the 7Days report is acted upon soon by the country’s authorities will this mean the end of classified adverts in the UAE? (image source:

I’m playing catch-up at the moment on the blog, due to moving house and having too many things to do and not enough hours in the day. One piece which did catch my eye was a report in 7Days. The piece, which was entitled ‘UAE Interior Ministry warns newspapers against maids, tutors ads’, quotes a Major General at the UAE’s Interior Ministry as saying:

“Newspapers need to be careful before putting job adverts for domestic workers such as nannies, maids, drivers and private tutors in their publications.

“Publications need to first verify the identities of these people and confirm they are staying legally in the country before they advertise their services.”

The officer notes the numerous reports from families of children being abused by the domestic help or private tutors hired through classifieds. The Major General quotes a recent incident in Abu Dhabi when police arrested a teacher whom allegedly kissed and molested two girls during a private lesson at their home.

“The Australian parents of the girls reported the 58-year-old Egyptian man to police after their daughters, aged eight and 13, told them the private tutor kissed them and also touched the older girl during a maths lessons.

The parents told police they had contacted the teacher through a newspaper advert.”

I want to bring up the concept of bona fide or good faith, the term that encompasses a sincere belief or motive without any malice or the desire to defraud others. It derives from the translation of the Latin term bona fide, and courts use the two terms interchangeably. Just as any other party, newspapers and other providers of classified services including online sites such as Dubizzle need to trust that the other party they’re dealing with are acting in good faith and telling the truth.

To ask newspapers to do due diligence on each and every person advertising as a tutor and/or maid would seem to be a tall task. What would newspapers be asking for? How would they be able to do a background check? And for online sites which host thousands of adverts, would they even have the human resources for such a task?

Revealingly, the 7Days article ends by noting that the tutor to the Australian family had earlier been deported after he was convicted of molesting a child, but returned to the UAE by sneaking through one of the country’s ports. Maybe it’s not the newspapers who should be doing due diligence, but rather other parties?