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Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

How Saudi Arabia Influences News Globally and its Designs in India

The bias of Indian media shows clearly in how the narratives are framed and which stories are run. Any rioting or deaths where Hindus are the victims is completely ignored. But in any other case, not only is the news run on a 24 hour news cycle for several days, but the news is spiced up with sometimes false reporting. Of course, the alternative narratives are completely ignored.

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When called Presstitutes – a pejorative that has been popularized in Western media (coined by Gerald Celente) where a media outlet simply bargains its news line – these journalists stand up in arms. They are mad that they are called biased. Then they go into their own rhetorical outbursts.

The question is – can the media be bought and influenced? Well, “bought” is a nuanced term. Basically when the power of money is used to change the narrative, such coverage can be safely called “bought”. Fox News in the US is considered to be right wing in its overall narrative. In fact, some would call it extreme right wing – what with the blabbering of Bill O’Reilly on people and things he doesn’t like. But even that highly Christian right wing news channel was made to change its news coverage with respect to Muslims by the Saudi prince.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdul aziz Al-Saud told a conference in Dubai he had telephoned Mr Murdoch after seeing a strapline on the news channel describing the disturbances as “Muslim riots”.

“I picked up the phone and called Murdoch and said that I was speaking not as a shareholder, but as a viewer of Fox. I said that these are not Muslim riots, they are riots,” Campaign Middle East magazine quoted the prince as saying.

“He investigated the matter and called Fox and within half an hour it was changed from ‘Muslim riots’ to ‘civil riots’.”

The prince said his intervention had been an example of how Muslim people can change the portrayal of their religion in the western media – although few Fox viewers will have his contacts.

So, if the extreme right wing oriented media in the US is under the influence of Saudi money, is India immune?  Apparently not.  The Saudi royal family has been investing in India as well to create a Sunni Wahabi hinterland.  This, in a bid to counter the Shia influence that is created by Iran.

Saudi Arabia pledged 4.5 million Saudi Riyal (SR) to different institutions in Kerala only.  Similarly, In Uttar Pradesh, 75,000 SR were pledged to two different societies for establishing a Madrasa building and a vocational centre for girls. (Source)

In around 60,000 documents exposed by the Wikileaks, it seems clear that the Saudis want to control the Sunni narrative and thought in India and also expand its influence.  The moneys coming in and the purpose for which it is coming should be a matter of concern for everyone.

The Saudi sponsored Wahabis are aiming to set up their own education system in India as well. Out of the total Rs 1700 crore that has been earmarked for the cause, Rs 800 crore is being spent on setting up Universities in different parts of the country. One such university was seen in Andhra Pradesh as well. Over all they propose to set up 4 such universities which will only cater to Wahabi preachings. With the take over of the existing Mosques becoming extremely difficult, they have earmarked Rs 400 crore to set up 40 Mosques adhering only to Wahabi preachings in different parts of the country. A sum of Rs 300 has been been earmarked to set up Madrasas while the remaining Rs 200 crore has been set aside as miscellaneous costs which also would include bribes to paid off to Mosque authorities as was seen in Maharashtra. (Source)

How do the Saudis influence the media outlets around the world with their money?  Here is an interesting example.  It is done through outright donations or thousands of subscriptions.

Whenever it serves its interests, Saudi Arabia channels funds to media organizations all over the world, from the United Kingdom to Iran and Senegal. The funding usually takes the form of outright donations or thousands of subscriptions.

In 2011, for example, the Saudi embassy in London suggested funding Wesal Farsi TV (now calledTawhid), a London-based, Persian-language TV station owned by a Sunni Iranian citizen opposed to his country’s government. In return for monthly funding and allowing Saudi Arabia to appoint a representative to its board of governors, the TV station would respond to Iranian media criticism of Saudi Arabia. (Source)

So when Kamlesh Tiwari gets arrested and does not get the benefit of Free Speech that the media “stalwarts” want for Kanhaiya or say, MF Hussain – then you know unambiguously that their hypocrisy is being shaped.  In the same way that Murdoch’s was when he pulled the “Muslim riots” off of Fox news screen on a phone call from the Saudi prince.

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About Desh Kapoor

The panache of a writer is proven by the creative pen he uses to transform the most mundane topic into a thrilling story. Desh - the author, critic and analyst uses the power of his pen to create thought-provoking pieces from ordinary topics of discussion. He writes on myriad interesting themes. Read the articles to know more about his views and "drishtikone".

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5 Comments on "How Saudi Arabia Influences News Globally and its Designs in India"

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March 10, 2016 11:44 am

Indian media, I always knew is excessively biased but I am surprised about the Fox news channel!
Also Saudi Arabia investing so much for religious purpose in India is also not a very great sign!

Subhodeep Mukhopadhyay
March 10, 2016 4:03 pm

Makes sense. Very good analysis and research you have done.

No wonder the English media seems so obtuse at a first glance – but then you realize they are not being obtuse but rather have an agenda which you have explained lucidly.

The recent incident of Sri Sri Ravishankar and Yamuna festival is one more example.

Aparna Mudi
March 10, 2016 6:54 pm

The world goes where the money is… That is the tragedy


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