Newsletter No 15 24 January 2006
News from the Media Scene:
Spanish News Agency Launches New Wire Service in Arabic

The Spanish News Agency "Efe" will soon start sending out news on Spain and Latin America in Arabic from Cairo. The new Arabic service is the result of the interest shown by the Spanish Foreign Affairs Ministry in making the country more visible in the Arab world. A similar service operating from Granada (Spain) was closed in 2003.

“'Efe' has decided to take up again a service that has always considered important and necessary. As a national agency we have the duty of promoting Spain’s presence outside,” said Lola Alvarez, manager of the agency.

The agency had already offered a similar service between 1995 and 2003. It was closed after the Andalusian regional government (south of Spain) stopped financing it. “Former clients kept demanding us to re-open it,” said Alvarez.

The service will translate stories from the agency and will produce its own material through a network of freelance journalists in the Arab countries. “It will also contribute to the agency’s a better covering of the Arab world,” said Alvarez.

The headquarters will be in Cairo. The team will consist of about 20 people.

"Efe" is also negotiating an agreement with the Arabic service of the German agency DPA to share content and other resources. "Efe-Arabic" will provide its subscribers with a text-only service, but depending on demand, the agency will also deliver pictures.