Khaled A. Almaeena - the bastion of modern Saudi Arabia
“I feel very sorry for the Sri Lankan House maid Rizana Nafeek. I am personally interested in her release. I wanted to push and push and push and see the poor girl is released”, said Khaled A. Almaeena, the former editor in Chief of Arab News,” Saudi Arabia.
He said, that he finds Sri Lankan as a cultured people and he said that people of Sri Lanka has contributed for the development of Saudi Arabia, either through their technocrats, either through the labor force and either through medical field. We owe a debt of gratitude and thanks to Sri Lanka.
Khaled A. Almaeena, was the editor-in-chief, of Arab News till last week and he has a wide experience of all the Arab, Asian and Western media and is a well-known analyst who has appeared on major 24-hour news networks to discuss issues ranging from Saudi foreign policy to social issues in the Kingdom. He occasionally contributes a column for Asharq Al-Awsat, Al Madina, Urdu News and Gulf News.
Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG). Arab News claims to be one of the most widely read English-language newspapers in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states, although its circulation has not been officially verified.
Khaled A. Almaeena, the veteran Arabian Journalists has been close to King Fahd and with King Abdullah too, also with Riyadh Governor Prince Salman.
The late Prince Ahmad Ibn Salman was very fond of Khaled Al-Maeena and so are the other sons of Prince Salman including Dr. Faisal Ibn Salman chairman of the company that publishes the newspaper, who in June 2008 honored Khaled Al-Maeena for his long years of dedicated service to Arab News and the company.
Giving below the excerpt of the interview Asian Tribune had with the veteran journalist of the Arab world - Khaled A. Almaeena.
Khaled A. Almaeena: I am no more the Editor in Chief, but hereafter I will be writing couple of Columns in the Arab News. I sincerely hope that the Newspaper will continue to remain as a great source of information about the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is been the voice of moderation and tolerance and I hope that it continues to be so. I had a very good team, very dedicated team of journalists and I hope that team would be there.
Asian Tribune: I think you were there for more than 20 years and you have built the Arabs News to grow to this stature.
Khaled Almaeena: This is my second spell with Arab News You can call that this is my second innings. Once I was there for 11 years as the Editor in Chief and then I was fired. In the next stint I was there for about 12 years, till last week.
Asian Tribune: Eleven and twelve - you are there with Arab News as f Editor in Chief for 23 years, a very long period.
Khaled Almaeena: Yes.
Asian Tribune: You have already told us that you will be only writing two columns to the paper hereafter.
Khaled Almaeena: I will write columns and I would also like to be a social activist.
Asian Tribune: Like …..?
Khaled Almaeena: I would like to work with young people. I will talk to them about values, social rights, about human rights and these are the kind of things I will like to do.
Asian Tribune: I am a Sri Lankan based in Sweden. Now I am a Swedish national. And I am the Chief Editor of Asian Tribune for the last 11 years.
Khaled Almaeena: Very good, I am a great fan of the Sri Lankan cricket team. Jayasuriya, Ranatunga and Muralitharan are my favorites.
Asian Tribune:Those are the greatest players of Sri Lanka. Evergreen legends of the game, now all three have retired from playing active cricket.
Khaled Almaeena: I saw them playing their best against India and I saw them and I think that Sri Lanka should have won not the last World Cup but in the previous one. In the final it was bad umpiring, bad light and stoppage of play … denied their victory.
Asian Tribune: As a Sri Lankan I have to thank you for the amount of support you have given through your paper to the Sri Lankan house maid Rizana Nafeek, who is languishing in the death row since July 2007.
Khaled Almaeena: Not only that, I have always supported Sri Lankans, because I believe them as a cultured people and I like to add this that the people of Sri Lanka has contributed for the development of Saudi Arabia, either through their technocrats, either through the labor force and either through medical field. We owe a debt of gratitude and thanks to Sri Lanka.
Asian Tribune: Also especially I have to thank you because I am one pioneering for the release of Rizana Nafeek wo is languishing in the jail from 25 May 2005 and from 16 July 2007 in the death row. So far we haven’t succeeded in getting clemency for her. It is unfortunate we haven’t established firm contacts with family of the demised 4 month old Saudi baby.
Khaled Almaeena: We are also trying our best to find out and I personally wanted to push and push and push, and see the poor girl is released.
Asian Tribune: I will give you the detail of the person appointed by the Sri Lankan President to work on the release of this Sri Lankan house maid.
Khaled Almaeena: At present I am taking four to five days rest and then I will be going for work. After that I will start working on this case. I am always a great supporter of labor rights.
Asian Tribune: We have our Mohammed Rasouldeen, a Sri Lankan editorial staff in the Arab News for the last 15 years and I met him and was in his company when I was last in Riyadh this May.
Khaled Almaeena: Dear Mr. Rajasingham, I will be happy to deal with you.
Asian Tribune: I am suppose to be in Saudi Arabia by this month. When I am in Riyadh I will make it a point to meet you. In conclusion I want to know whether there was any special reason for you being terminated as Editor in Chief ?
Khaled Almaeena: Well .... I think it was for some a personal reason, I had some differences and nothing to do with the government.
- Asian Tribune -