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

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  • A new disclosure recently filed with the Justice Department states that public relations and media veteran Nicola Hewitt will act independently for Saudi Arabia’s media ministry.
  • A filing said Hewitt “will perform general public relations and media outreach services, including access to broadcast, print and social media, about the changing way of life in Saudi Arabia.”
  • The document notes that Hewitt is working for the media ministry through a company called Thickah Business Services.

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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has hired a public relations executive who was once a producer to serve as a media relations consultant for news anchor Katie Couric.

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Nicola Hewitt, who has run her communications firm for more than a decade, is joining the ranks of influential American people working for the government of Saudi Arabia. The country is governed by a royal family that has been accused of human rights abuses.

Saudi Arabia is led in large part by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. NBC News reported In 2018 that he ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which the Crown Prince denied. Former President Donald Trump, those daysStanding with Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi’s death. The two countries had almost signed an agreement $110 billion arms deal a year ago

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A new disclosure recently filed with the Justice Department says Hewitt will act independently for Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Media and “perform general public relations and media outreach services, including outreach to broadcast, print and social media regarding the changing way of life in Saudi Arabia.”

The document notes that Hewitt is working his way through a company called Thickah Business Services for the media ministry. According to the business magazine Eye of Riyadh, Thikah Business Services is a “100% government owned company” The Saudi Authority for Accredited Appraisers and by the Saudi Organization for Certified Public Accountants.”

The form shows that Hewitt, prior to filing the disclosure form, had been actively working for the Saudi government’s media agency throughout the past year. According to a Saudi government website, the Ministry of Media “monitors all means of visual, audio and written communication material in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

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The form lists journalists Hewitt contacted representing the Saudi government, including CNBC, NBC News, CBS News, the New York Post and CNN. Public relations representatives often pitch journalists on stories for their clients.

Thicka paid Hewitt more than $15,000 in November and December from Thickah in November and December, according to the form.

An email sent to Hewitt’s firm was not returned prior to publication. Thikah Business Services did not return an email seeking comment.

Hewitt is the latest US representative to be hired by Saudi Arabia to impress American audiences and officials.

Soon after President Joe Biden was elected in 2020, several new lobbyists in Saudi Arabia indicated that the country was planning an updated influence campaign that could target the new administration and the upcoming Congress. The state also aims to fund a new digital news platform with headquarters in Washington, DC.

Hewitt’s biography says that he has prior experience in the Middle East. According to her website, she was on the board of UN Women for Peace. Her LinkedIn page says she worked with Couric at Yahoo News, CBS News and NBC News.

Her firm’s website lists Businesshala Philanthropy, Stand Up to Cancer, Rockefeller Foundation and Girl Rising as some of her clients.

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