Saudi Arabia hires PR veteran and former Katie Couric producer for media consulting

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks in the course of the Gulf Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 14, 2021.

Bandar Saudi Press Company | Handout | By way of Reuters

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has employed a public relations government who was as soon as a producer for information anchor Katie Couric to work as a media relations advisor.

Nicolla Hewitt, who has run her personal communications agency for over a decade, is becoming a member of the ranks of American influencers that work for Saudi Arabia’s authorities. The nation is ruled by a royal household who has been accused of human rights abuses.

Saudi Arabia is led largely by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. NBC Information reported in 2018 that he ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, one thing the crown prince has denied. Former President Donald Trump, on the time, stood by Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi’s loss of life. The 2 nations had signed a virtually $110 billion arms deal a 12 months earlier.

A brand new disclosure just lately filed with the Division of Justice says that Hewitt might be conducting freelance work for Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Media and “will carry out common public relations and media outreach providers, together with outreach to broadcast, print, and social media in regards to the altering lifestyle in Saudi Arabia.”

The doc notes that Hewitt is conducting her work for the Ministry of Media by an organization known as Thiqah Enterprise Companies. Based on the enterprise journal Eye of Riyadh, Thiqah Enterprise Companies is a “100% authorities firm owned by Saudi Authority for Accredited Valuers and Saudi Group for Licensed Public Accountants.”

The shape exhibits that Hewitt, previous to Hewitt submitting the disclosure type, was actively working for the Saudi authorities’s media company all through final 12 months. Based on a Saudi authorities web site, the Ministry of Media “supervises all technique of visible, audio and written communication content material within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

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The shape lists reporters whom Hewitt contacted whereas she represented the Saudi authorities, together with these at CNBC, NBC Information, CBS Information, the New York Publish and CNN. Public relations representatives usually pitch reporters on tales for his or her shoppers.

Thiqah paid Hewitt a retainer of over $15,000 in November and December from Thiqah in November and December, in accordance with the shape.

An e mail despatched to Hewitt’s agency was not returned earlier than publication. Thiqah Enterprise Companies didn’t return an e mail in search of remark.

Hewitt is the newest American consultant to be employed by Saudi Arabia in a bid to affect U.S. audiences and officers.

Shortly after President Joe Biden was elected in 2020, Saudi Arabia a number of new lobbyists in a sign that the nation was planning an up to date affect marketing campaign that would goal the brand new administration and incoming Congress. The dominion has additionally been aiming to fund a brand new digital information platform with a headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Hewitt’s bio says she has prior expertise within the Center East. She was on the board of the U.N. Ladies for Peace, in accordance with her web site. Her LinkedIn web page says she labored with Couric at Yahoo Information, CBS Information and NBC Information.

Her agency’s web site lists Bloomberg Philanthropies, Get up To Most cancers, the Rockefeller Basis and Woman Rising as a few of their shoppers.


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