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

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

Bandar Saud News Agency | Handout | Via Reuters

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hired a public relations director who was a producer of news anchor Katie Couric as a media relations consultant.

Nicolla Hewitt, who has owned his own communications company for more than a decade, is joining the ranks of American influencers working for the Saudi Arabian government. This country is ruled by a royal family accused of human rights violations.

Saudi Arabia is largely led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. NBC News Report In 2018, he ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but the crown prince denied this. Former President Donald Trump, then, To support Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi’s death.The two countries signed nearly US$110 billion The arms deal a year ago.

A new disclosure recently submitted to the Ministry of Justice stated that Hewitt will freelance for the Saudi Arabian Media Department and “will provide general public relations and media outreach services, including broadcasting, print, and social media about changing ways. Life in Saudi Arabia.”

The document states that Hewitt is working for the media department through a company called Thiqah Business Services.According to the business magazine “Riyadh Eye”, Thiqah Business Services is a “100% government company owned Provided by the Saudi Arabian Appraisal Authority and the Saudi Certified Public Accountants Organization. “

The table shows that before Hewitt submitted the disclosure form, Hewitt had been actively working for the Saudi government’s media organizations throughout the year. According to the Saudi government website, the Ministry of Media “supervises all visual, audio and written communications in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

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This table lists the reporters Hewitt has contacted while representing the Saudi government, including CNBC, NBC News, CBS News, New York Post and CNN reporters. Public relations representatives often tell reporters the stories of their clients.

The table shows that Tikka paid Hewitt more than $15,000 in employment fees in November and December.

The email sent to Hewitt Company was not returned before publication. Thiqah Business Services did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Hewitt is the latest U.S. representative hired by Saudi Arabia to influence American audiences and officials.

Soon after President Joe Biden was elected in 2020, Several new lobbyists in Saudi Arabia This shows that the country is planning an updated influence campaign against the new government and the incoming Congress.This kingdom Has also been working to fund a new digital news platform headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Hewitt’s resume stated that she had previous experience in the Middle East. According to her website, she is a member of the UN Women’s Commission for Peace. Her LinkedIn page says that she works with Couric on Yahoo News, CBS News, and NBC News.

Her company’s website lists Bloomberg Philanthropies, Stand up To Cancer, Rockefeller Foundation, and Girl Rising as some of their customers.