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AFP boosts Gulf presence with new Qatar office
Agence France-Presse opened at the beginning of 2015 an office in Doha, making AFP the first of the "big three" historic general news agencies to have a fully-fledged bureau in Qatar.
The decision to open AFP’s office in the West Bay neighbourhood was prompted by two major trends in recent years.
The first is Qatar's rising global profile, especially in sports as the emirate prepares to host a series of major world sporting events. As well as the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar will this month host the Men's Handball World Championship, then the 2016 Road World Championships in cycling, then the 2019 World Athletics Championships.
Having made sports coverage a key priority of its development, it makes sense for AFP to strengthen its presence in Qatar.
"As well as general news from Qatar, the Doha office headed by David Harding will cover sports from all angles, going beyond the results to deal with economic and social issues,” said Rene Slama, AFP’s bureau chief in Dubai, which is in charge of the six Gulf countries and Yemen.
“In text, photo and video, AFP’s coverage of Qatar will offer our clients a real multimedia product.”
The other trend behind the opening of the Doha office is AFP’s longstanding effort to strengthen its presence and activities in the Gulf -- a key region in the agency’s Middle East and North Africa (MENA) network.
The quality of AFP's coverage of Gulf countries was again highlighted in October with the awarding of the prestigious Bayeux-Calvados prize for war correspondents to AFP's photojournalist in Bahrain, Mohammed Al-Shaikh.
"AFP provides timely, varied and complete coverage of Gulf news in text, photo and video, and will continue to expand its network in the region, with a particular emphasis on video," said MENA regional director Christian Chaise, stressing that next to sports, video is the other axis of AFP's strategic development.
The number of Gulf videos produced by AFP increased by more than 20 percent between 2012 and 2014, including by more than 60 percent in Qatar alone. This growth is expected to accelerate in the coming years.
AFP is a global news agency delivering fast, accurate, in-depth coverage of the events shaping our world from conflicts to politics, sports, entertainment and the latest breakthroughs in health, science and technology. With 2,260 staff spread across almost every country, AFP covers the world 24 hours a day in six languages. AFP delivers the news in video, text, photos, multimedia and graphics to a wide range of customers including newspapers and magazines, radio and TV channels, web sites and portals, mobile operators, corporate clients as well as public institutions.