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Sky News Arabic channel plans still on

world Updated: Jul 19, 2011 14:53 IST

Britain's Sky News is pursuing plans to launch a 24-hour Arabic channel in Abu Dhabi in spite of the growing phone-hacking scandal surrounding Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, which owned 39% share in it.

Sky News Arabia said its plans for launching a 24-hour news channel in Abu Dhabi are still progressing, and have not been hit by News Corp dropping its acquisition plans.

"Sky News Arabia is a 50/50 joint venture with BSkyB and the Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation (ADMIC). Both organisations remain committed to the launch of Sky News Arabia in the Spring of 2012," the company has confirmed.

ADMIC is an investment company run by Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, owner of English soccer club Manchester City.

Sky News Arabia will broadcast free-to-air to more than 50 million households across the Mena region, the channel said earlier this year. It will be based at the twofour54 media zone in Abu Dhabi, with bureaus around the world. Last month it announced that it has taken over the studio complex at its new headquarters ahead of the launch of the channel.

News Corp already owns a 39% stake in BSkyB. Last week Murdoch shelved the bid to buy the remaining 61%, after being mired in a widening scandal stemming from phone hacking.

The deal had been opposed by the British government after it was revealed the News Corp-owned tabloid News of the World in 2002 hacked into the voice mails of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and deleted messages.

The claims led to the closure of the News of the World and the resignation of Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of Murdoch's British newspaper arm News International.