The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) has been a main source of news for local and foreign media since its inception by a Royal Decree on January 23, 1971.
The Riyadh-based wire service has an impressive presence inside and outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and plays a leading role in delivering informative messages of the kingdom to the outside world.
In this connection the agency will be hosting the fourth News Agencies World Congress (NAWC-IV) on November17-21, under auspices of King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz.
Abdulla Bin Fahad Al Hussain, SPA president and president of the Congress, will deliver the opening speech to the event themed "Reinventing the News Agency in 21st Century." The gathering will bring together representatives of wire services from around the globe, notably Nick George, Partner of Price Waterhouse Coopers; Bruce Davidson, CEO of Australian Associated Press; Gary Pruitt, President and CEO of Associated Press (AP); Steven Schwartz, Global Managing Director of Reuters Media; Emmanuel Hoog, President and CEO of Agence France-Presse (AFP); Jose Antonio Vera, President and CEO of Agency EFE; and Sergey Mikhaylov, Director General of Itar-Tass.
SPA is a founding member of the Federation of Arab News Agencies (FANA), the Gulf News Agency, the International Islamic News Agency (IINA), the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) News Network (NNN) and the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA).
In December 1, 1975, SPA distributed its daily news bulletin among local media outlets for free.
In 1987 the agency started transmitting news directly to three main destinations that cover 50 countries in the Middle East, north, east and central Africa, southern Europe, and East Asia.
In 1982 the wire service introduced the state-of-the-art communication systems to communicate with its subscribers via satellites and microwaves.
In 1997, SPA introduced the computerized system to link its editorial desk at the Riyadh-based headquarters with the overseas offices.
In 1999 the agency hooked up with four communication satellites and transmitted news in two languages Arabic and English, before airing via its website www.spa.gov.sa around the clock in the same year.
In 2009 it upgraded its website through posting the news bulletin on RSS and the SMS.
The agency has 600-strong staff, including editors, technicians and management staffers, who work at the headquarters and 13 offices at home and seven overseas offices.