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

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

Bandar Saudi Push Agency | Handout | By using Reuters

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has hired a general public relations govt who was after a producer for information anchor Katie Couric to perform as a media-relations marketing consultant.

Nicolla Hewitt, who has run her individual communications organization for above a decade, is becoming a member of the ranks of American influencers who perform for the kingdom. The authorities, which is operate by a royal family members, has been accused of human legal rights abuses.

Saudi Arabia is led in massive section by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. NBC Information reported in 2018 that he ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a thing the crown prince has denied. Former President Donald Trump, at the time, stood by Saudi Arabia soon after Khashoggi’s demise. The two nations experienced signed a nearly $110 billion arms deal a 12 months earlier.

A new disclosure recently submitted with the Department of Justice claims Hewitt will be conducting freelance perform for Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Media and “will accomplish basic general public relations and media outreach companies, including outreach to broadcast, print and social media about the modifying way of everyday living in Saudi Arabia.”

The document notes that Hewitt is conducting her operate for the Ministry of Media as a result of a organization termed Thiqah Business enterprise Providers. According to the small business journal Eye of Riyadh, Thiqah Enterprise Products and services is a “100{ac23b82de22bd478cde2a3afa9e55fd5f696f5668b46466ac4c8be2ee1b69550} federal government corporation owned by Saudi Authority for Accredited Valuers and Saudi Organization for Licensed Public Accountants.”

The disclosure type demonstrates that Hewitt, prior to the submitting, was actively doing work for the Saudi government’s media company throughout very last year. According to a Saudi federal government web-site, the Ministry of Media “supervises all usually means of visual, audio and published communication written content in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

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The kind lists reporters whom Hewitt contacted when she represented the Saudi govt, like all those at CNBC, NBC Information, CBS News, the New York Put up and CNN. General public relations associates usually pitch reporters on tales for their purchasers.

Thiqah paid Hewitt a retainer of above $15,000 in November and December from Thiqah in November and December, according to the form.

An e mail sent to Hewitt’s firm was not returned just before publication. Thiqah Organization Providers did not return an email seeking remark.

Hewitt is the most recent American representative to be employed by Saudi Arabia in a bid to affect U.S. audiences and officials.

Shortly immediately after President Joe Biden was elected in 2020, Saudi Arabia employed a number of new lobbyists in a signal that the state was setting up an current influence campaign that could concentrate on the new administration and incoming Congress. The kingdom has also been aiming to fund a new electronic information platform with a headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Hewitt has prior practical experience in the Center East and was on the board of the U.N. Gals for Peace, according to her namesake firm’s website. Her LinkedIn website page says she worked with Couric at Yahoo Information, CBS News and NBC Information.

Her firm’s web page also lists Bloomberg Philanthropies, Stand up To Most cancers, the Rockefeller Basis and Female Increasing as some of their shoppers.