Entertainment and corruption to whitewash Mohammed bin Salman through public relations companies

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is taking advantage of the social changes he is making in the Kingdom through entertainment to whitewash his image before international public opinion by using suspicious contracts with public relations companies.

Politico revealed that Mohammed bin Salman secretly contracted with Corvis Public Relations in Washington and paid enormous amounts of money annually to whitewash his image.

The newspaper reported that Nicola Hewitt of Corvis Public Relations in Washington was calling the rooms of American journalists based in Jeddah to urge them to write reports on how to change life in Saudi Arabia.

The newspaper pointed out that Hewitt’s efforts succeeded in arranging interviews for Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir with several American channels to convey the Saudi viewpoint to the American public, focusing on the change in the Kingdom.

According to the newspaper, a plan consisting of 109 slides – previously not disclosed by law – was submitted to the Ministry of Justice in June, including a “Search Beyond” campaign for five years.

“Through this campaign, the Saudis will develop partnerships with celebrities and look for opportunities that can lead to international film productions filmed throughout the country, and broadcast some episodes of major American entertainment programs from the land of the Kingdom, including the “The Daily Show” program.”

“The “Edelman” company, with which Saudi Arabia contracted, has established a partnership with MTV, in addition to the cooperation of major institutions and bodies, and it has been proposed to include international celebrities on the campaign’s board of directors.”

According to the newspaper, “The plan, which was presented in Arabic, shows the extent to which the Saudis were willing to go to get rid of the “pariah” situation in which US President Joe Biden and others placed them in the wake of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Seth Bender, an activist with the Project on Middle East Democracy, pointed out that “Mohammed bin Salman tried to whitewash his reputation by bringing in celebrities to perform concerts and through sports washing by buying football clubs.”

Edelman has a history of working in and with Saudi Arabia. In 2020, she registered with the Ministry of Justice to represent the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation. This company produces chemicals and other materials owned by the authorities in a deal worth about $6.7 million.

The public relations work of NEOM, which is working to develop the so-called “smart city” within the “Vision 2030” launched by Ibn Salman, but the current contract with Riyadh may be one of the most profitable among its partnerships with the Kingdom in recent years.

According to the report, Edelman, an agency of Daniel J. Edelman Holdings known as United Entertainment Group, divided contract costs into four categories: research, planning and strategy, media relations and strategic partnerships, social media plan development and outreach, and client management and reporting.

Within these categories, Edelman pledged, among others, to “monitor online conversations and media coverage to identify ‘friends’ and critics,” “initiate a relationship-building program for US-based media contacts,” and host “monthly client meetings.”

After the lobbying and communications store, BGR refused to cooperate with it in 2018. It returned to conclude last May with a cooperation agreement to represent the non-governmental organization of the Muslim World League. The contract signed by Edelman with Saudi Arabia confirms the changing attitudes of American companies towards Riyadh.

In addition to targeting an audience in the US, the Search Beyond campaign will target markets in the Middle East, UK, Germany, France and other parts of the world, and it appears that influencers and social media use will be a key part of this effort.

As part of the campaign, Saudi Arabia will create a physical influencer base known as House Beyond, likely broadcast from MTV.

The plan indicated that the company was already working on launching a partnership with the international art festival Art Basel for inclusion in the Search Beyond campaign. It could do the same with Coachella, Bonaro, and the Southwest.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also
Back to top button