The Huffington Post is to launch an Arabic-language website with editorial staff based in London.
HuffPost Arabi “will be a first-of-its-kind online news destination for the 300+ million people in the Arab world, offering a combination of original reporting by independent journalists and a blog platform for people across the region to share their thoughts, opinions and commentary”.
Huffington Post Media Group is launching the site in collaboration with Wadah Khanfar, chief executive of Integral Media Strategies and former Director General of Al Jazeera Network.
In addition to staff in the UK, the site will also use Integral Media Strategies’ “growing network of on-the-ground journalists”.
Global editions of HuffPo, which launched in the US and came to the UK three years ago, claim 97.5m unique monthly users, according to ComScore in June 2014.
It has 11 different versions of its website – for Brazil, Canada, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Maghreb (covering Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria), the UK and US.
Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of Huffington Post Media Group, said: "Bringing HuffPost to the Arab world has been a dream for us since we launched our first international edition a little more than three years ago [in the UK]…
“There's such a great need – not only in the region, but all over the world – to bring more Arab voices into the conversation and deepen the world's understanding of life in the Arab world, from its problems to its accomplishments to its untapped potential.
“Wadah Khanfar has been a great friend and supporter of HuffPost for years, helping to guide our coverage of the Middle East, and I'm thrilled to be partnering with him and Integral Media Strategies to create a truly independent news source at such an important time in the region's history."
Khanfar said: “Now Arabic creators of news and opinion content will have a fresh and exciting online community where their voices and ideas can be heard and shared. Our audiences will be able to access and engage with news and factual content specifically customized for the Arab World’s new Digital Generation.”
And Jimmy Maymann, chief executive of the HuffPo, said: “You only have to look at the 16 percent annual growth in Internet usage and 64 percent annual growth in digital advertising spend over the last 5 years to understand the scale of this opportunity for us."