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

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

Bandar Saudi Press Company | Handout | By means of Reuters

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has employed a public relations govt who was the moment a producer for news anchor Katie Couric to perform as a media-relations consultant.

Nicolla Hewitt, who has operate her individual communications organization for around a ten years, is joining the ranks of American influencers who do the job for the kingdom. The government, which is operate by a royal family members, has been accused of human rights abuses.

Saudi Arabia is led in significant element by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. NBC News noted in 2018 that he ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a little something the crown prince has denied. Previous President Donald Trump, at the time, stood by Saudi Arabia soon after Khashoggi’s dying. The two nations experienced signed a nearly $110 billion arms offer a calendar year previously.

A new disclosure recently filed with the Office of Justice claims Hewitt will be conducting freelance function for Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Media and “will accomplish standard public relations and media outreach solutions, including outreach to broadcast, print and social media about the transforming way of everyday living in Saudi Arabia.”

The document notes that Hewitt is conducting her do the job for the Ministry of Media by way of a organization named Thiqah Company Products and services. According to the business enterprise magazine Eye of Riyadh, Thiqah Organization Providers is a “100% government business owned by Saudi Authority for Accredited Valuers and Saudi Corporation for Certified Public Accountants.”

The disclosure kind demonstrates that Hewitt, prior to the submitting, was actively functioning for the Saudi government’s media company during final calendar year. According to a Saudi governing administration internet site, the Ministry of Media “supervises all means of visual, audio and penned interaction content in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

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The sort lists reporters whom Hewitt contacted although she represented the Saudi federal government, which include these at CNBC, NBC News, CBS Information, the New York Publish and CNN. General public relations representatives typically pitch reporters on stories for their shoppers.

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

An e-mail sent to Hewitt’s business was not returned right before publication. Thiqah Company Providers did not return an electronic mail in search of comment.

Hewitt is the latest American consultant to be hired by Saudi Arabia in a bid to impact U.S. audiences and officials.

Shortly right after President Joe Biden was elected in 2020, Saudi Arabia employed numerous new lobbyists in a sign that the country was setting up an updated impact campaign that could focus on the new administration and incoming Congress. The kingdom has also been aiming to fund a new electronic information system with a headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Hewitt has prior expertise in the Middle East and was on the board of the U.N. Gals for Peace, in accordance to her namesake firm’s internet site. Her LinkedIn site suggests she worked with Couric at Yahoo News, CBS Information and NBC News.

Her firm’s site also lists Bloomberg Philanthropies, Stand up To Cancer, the Rockefeller Basis and Female Growing as some of their shoppers.