A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, August 2, 2010

National Geographic Al-‘Arabiyya Coming Soon

I've always had a soft spot for National Geographic. Growing up in a smallish Midwestern city, it was my window on the rest of the world, and taught me more, at times, than my schools did. And I still have a collection of National Geographic maps dating back to the late 1950s somewhere in my basement. And their headquarters and museum is just a couple of blocks from my office.

So I found it interesting that an Arabic edition of National Geographic is to be introduced in October. It will appear 11 times a year, with some 20% of the content generated locally.National Geographic Al-‘Arabiyya will be published by Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC) which already broadcasts the Arabic version of the National Geographic Channel. (And also owns The National, the paper reporting the story.)

Random thought which shows my age: There was once a time in America, before Playboy and its imitators came on the scene, when National Geographic was the only mainstream publication that could get away with female toplessness in pictures, provided of course they were exotic, primitive, and (unspoken condition) nonwhite. I don't think they do that much these days anyway, but I doubt it will play that role in the Gulf, somehow.


ibnibnbattuta said...

Too bad they'll now be competing with Al-Arabi, the Arab world's own home-grown version of NatGeo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Arabi_(magazine)

Anonymous said...

My "soft spot" for NatGeo hardened when they lost their way in the late 1990s and turned into an international media conglomerate. I see they're still at it.