The 26 September 2007 front page of
|Owner(s)||Al Nisr Publishing|
|Editor||Abdul Hamid Ahmad|
|Founded||September 30, 1978|
|Headquarters||Dubai, United Arab Emirates|
|Country||United Arab Emirates|
Gulf News is a daily English language newspaper published from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It was first launched in 1978, and is currently distributed throughout the UAE and also in other Persian Gulf Countries. Its online edition was launched in 1996.
History and profile
Gulf News was first launched in tabloid format on September 30, 1978 by UAE businessman Abdul Wahab Galadari; its offices were located on the Airport Road, Dubai. In November 1984, three UAE businessmen, purchased the company and formed Al Nisr Publishing. The new owners of the paper were Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Abdullah Al Rostamani and Juma Al Majid. With the death of Abdullah Al Rostamani in 2006, his position on the board is held by a family nominee while the other directors remain.
Under new ownership, Gulf News was relaunched on 10 December 1985 and was free to the public. From February 1986, the public was charged one Dirham (US 27 cents) a copy for the Gulf News package which comprised the broadsheet newspaper and a leisure supplement called Tabloid, which also contained classifieds.
After moving into new premises in 1986, Gulf News began to be distributed to other GCC countries: Bahrain from September 1987; Oman from April 1989; Saudi Arabia from March 1989; and Qatar from April 1989. It also became available in Pakistan from August 1988. In order to provide better local coverage for its readers, Gulf News opened various bureaus: the Abu Dhabi bureau was opened in 1982; Bahrain bureau in January 1988; Oman bureau in 1989; Manila bureau in August 1990; Al Ain bureau in 1994; Sharjah bureau in May 1995; and the New Delhi bureau in November 1995.
In November 1995 the width of the paper's broadsheet pages was reduced by four centimetres, to create the new international size of 38 centimetres. Al Nisr Publishing became a limited liability company (LLC) with a share capital of Dh15 million on 26 May 1997.
The first online edition of Gulf News was launched on 1 September 1996. The daily launched video news in its online edition in the second part of the 2000s, being among the first in the region.
As of 2008 Abdul Hamid Ahmad was the editor-in-chief of the paper. Regular op-ed contributors to Gulf News include: Uri Avnery, Kuldip Nayar, Faisal Alkasim, Joseph A. Kechichian, Sami Moubayed, Marwan Al Kabalan, Rakesh Mani, Linda S. Heard, Stuart Reigeluth and Wael Al Sayegh. Gulf News moved to its present headquarters on Sheikh Zayed Road in April 2000.
In 2016, Gulf News appointed Jonathan Richards as Digital Strategy Director, who led digital transformation at the newspaper and the team that created a new design for the newspaper, a new CMS and classifieds platform getthat.com.
Sponsorship and promotion
Gulf News was the first newspaper in the region to promote the arts, culture, music and sport through sponsorship of events. In March 1989, The paper started the Gulf Business Awards in collaboration with DHL for the Best Chief Executive, Enterprise and Businessman. The scheme was discontinued in 1996.
The Gulf News Fun Drive was started in March 1986. The 26th Fun Drive was held in December 2006 and saw 750 all-terrain vehicles with over 2,800 participants. An earlier Fun Drive was recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as being a significant first achievement. Gulf News sponsors the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen, a Group 1 sprint which one of the main attractions, of the Dubai World Cup horse race. Gulf News also sponsors an evening of horse racing at Nad Al Sheba, with each race being named after one of its titles.
The paper also sponsors a number of other sporting events in the UAE, as well as seminars and conferences. Principal among this latter is the Arab Strategy Forum, where leaders in politics and industry gather to discuss current events affecting the region.
Role in Orkut ban
On 3 July 2007, Gulf News revisited the issue of Orkut's "immoral activities" communities, publishing complaints from members of the public against Orkut communities like "Dubai Sex", and officially bringing the complaints to the attention of the state telecom monopoly Etisalat. The ensuing moral panic resulted in a renewed ban of the site by Etisalat by 4 July 2007.
The newspaper won the Asia - Pacific award for best newspaper production in July 1990. The online edition of the paper was reported by Forbes Middle East in 2010 to be the number one among the English-language online newspapers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as well as in the UAE. The paper's online version was the seventh most visited website among all online websites in the same ranking. Forbes Middle East named it as the third online newspaper overall in the Arab world in the period from 31 August 2011 to 31 August 2012.
In January 2009 Gulf News ran a column by Mohammad Abdullah Al Mutawa that claimed the holocaust was a lie. "Today, the whole world stands as a witness to the fact that the Nazi holocaust was a mere lie, which was devised by the Zionists to blackmail humanity. The same Zionist entity swindled the world out of billions of dollars over the years to compensate the wrong and unjust which they claim to have been inflicted on their people. It is evident that the holocaust was a conspiracy hatched by the Zionists and Nazis, and many innocent people gave their lives as a result of this inhuman plot." The article has since been removed from Gulf News' website.
On 15 December 2013, Gulf News in its editorial claimed without mentioning any source that Pakistan and Afghanistan did not vote for Dubai in its bid for Expo 2020. The Foreign Office of Pakistan quickly brushed aside the allegations as baseless mentioning the facts that Pakistan was committed to bid for Turkey Izmir since Turkey approached Pakistan for its support in 2011 long before Dubai even expressed its interest to host Expo 2020. Javed Jalil Khattak, Consulate General of Pakistan in Dubai, in an open letter to Gulf News termed the editorial as "an orchestrated attempt to damage and defame the historic fraternal relations between Pakistan and the UAE", while the editorial drew an angry reaction from the Pakistani expat community in the UAE.
On July 10th 2017, Francis Matthew, former Editor and then Editor-at-Large at Gulf News, was charged with the murder of his wife, Jane, allegedly with a hammer blow to her head, over a row about finances. According to the charge, he killed her in the early morning of 4th July 2017, then went to work and held meetings as normal, after which he then returned in the evening to their villa and reported to police that thieves had broken in and assaulted her. After questioning he admitted he killed her, claiming she harangued him when a huge argument erupted over finances and debts totalling some 1 million dirhams (£200,000). Subsequently, controversy surrounding his sentencing and re-sentencing has led to media reports. In October 2018 his sentence was increased from 10 years to 15 years, with pleas from Jane Matthew's family to change the charge from physical assault to premeditated murder. But then, due to the death of Jane's father, his lawyers were allowed to appeal again, as UAE newspaper The National reported: "Jane's only surviving legal heir, her son, had previously signed a waiver dropping criminal charges against his father. This meant all private charges against him had been dropped but that public law – the right of government law against an accused – was still applicable. In UAE law, if the legal successors of a victim drop charges and waive their private rights, the court is still obliged to impose a penalty against the accused under public law – but it will be a shorter term.". While the minimum sentence for murder in the UAE is 10 years, Matthew's defence expects a reduction to two years based on public law. The case is ongoing.
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- "The History of Gulf News". gulfnews.com. Archived from the original on 11 May 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
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- Jeffrey Ghannam (3 February 2011). "Social Media in the Arab World: Leading up to the Uprisings of 2011" (PDF). The Center for International Media Assistance. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
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- "Gulf News becomes first newspaper in the Arab world to go Berliner". Publicitas. 3 June 2012. Archived from the original on 13 August 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
- Orkut.com 'being used for immoral activities' Archived 2 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine Gulf News 3 July 2007
- Orkut.com banned in the UAE Archived 28 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine Gulf News 4 July 2007
- Badih, Samia (28 October 2010). "Gulf News No. 1 English online paper in Mena". Gulf News. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
- "Al Ahram tops online newspapers in Arab world: Forbes". Ahram Online. 27 December 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
- Roy Greenslade. "Roy Greenslade: Dubai paper publishes holocaust denial column". the Guardian.
- Mohammad Abdullah Al Mutawa. "Denying the Holocaust". Gulf News.
- "Expo 2020 vote: UAE deserves answers from Pakistan and Afghanistan". Gulf News. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
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- "Gulf News stands by editorial on Expo 2020 vote". Gulf News. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
- Parasie, Nicolas. "Dubai Newspaper Editorial Evokes Sharp Pakistani Reaction". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
- "UK journalist charged with Dubai murder". BBC News. 10 July 2017. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
- "10 years in jail for British journalist who killed his wife with a hammer in Dubai". gulfnews.com. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
- "Jail sentence increased for former Gulf News editor who killed his wife". The National. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
- "Former Dubai editor who killed wife to serve seven years in jail". The National. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
- "Briton who killed his wife in Dubai may only serve two years in jail". The National. Retrieved 13 September 2020.