Gulf News is a daily English language newspaper published from Dubai.

History and profile

Gulf News was first launched in tabloid format in 1978[4] by prominent UAE businessman Abdul Wahab Galadari; its offices were located on the Airport Road, Dubai. In November 1984, three leading 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 additional 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 additionally contained classifieds.

After moving into new premises in 1986, Gulf News began to be distributed to additional GCC countries: Bahrain from September 1987; Oman from April 1989; Saudi Arabia from March 1989; and Qatar from April 1989. It additionally became available in Pakistan from August 1988. In order to provide better local coverage for its readers, Gulf News opened various bureaus around the United Arab Emirates, the GCC and the Subcontinent. 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 were 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 amongst the first in the region.[5]

As of 2008 Abdul Hamid Ahmad was the editor-in-chief of the paper.[6] Regular op-ed contributors to Gulf News include: Uri Avnery, Kuldip Nayar, Faisal Alkasim, Joseph A. Kechichian, 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.

The daily changed its format to berliner on 1 June 2012, being the first berliner-format daily published in the Arab countries.[7]

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 regionally famous 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. An Additional major event is the $6 million Dubai World Cup horse race meeting, which comprises seven top quality races, and includes a race for Purebred Arabians. Gulf News sponsors the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen, a Group 1 sprint which one of the main attractions, of the meeting. Gulf News additionally sponsors an entire evening of horse racing at Nad Al Sheba, with each race being named after one of its titles.

The paper additionally sponsors a number of additional major sports events in the UAE, as well as seminars and conferences. Principal amongst 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.[8] The ensuing moral panic resulted in a renewed ban of the site by Etisalat by 4 July 2007.[9]

Awards

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 amongst the English-language online newspapers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as well as in the UAE.[10] Notwithstanding The paper's online version was the seventh mostly visited website amongst all online websites in the same ranking.[2] Forbes Middle East named it as the third in the Arab world in the period from 31 August 2011 to 31 August 2012.[2]

Controversy

In January 2009 they 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 a large number of innocent people gave their lives as a consequence of this inhuman plot."[2]

On 15 December 2013, Gulf News in its editorial claimed without mentioning any source that Pakistan and Afghanistan didn't vote for Dubai in its bid for Expo 2020.[2] The Foreign Office of Pakistan quickly brushed aside the allegations as baseless mentioning the facts that Pakistan was committed to bid for Turkey Izmir after Turkey approached Pakistan for its support in 2011 long before Dubai even expressed its interest to host Expo 2020.[2] 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".[2] Pakistan expat community in UAE resorted to social media to voice their concern on the defaming editorial with number of Gulf News subscribers cancelling their subscription in protest.[2]