Tuesday, March 11, 2008

BBC launches Arabic television service

1 hour, 3 minutes ago

LONDON (Reuters) -
Britain's public broadcaster the BBC
launched an Arabic television service on Tuesday with funding
from the government to provide what it said would be
independent news, analysis and current affairs.

The corporation said the channel would broadcast for an
initial 12 hours a day to anyone with a satellite or cable
connection in North Africa, the Middle East or the Gulf, before
moving to a 24-hour operation later this year.

It will complement the BBC Arabic radio service that is
already available and bbcarabic, both of which have been

"We are encouraged that independent research consistently
shows an appetite for a BBC Arabic television channel," Nigel
Chapman, the director of BBC World Service, said in a

BBC Arabic will compete with popular Arabic satellite
channels including Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera, which was founded
in 1996 after the collapse of a television joint venture
between the BBC World Service and Saudi-owned distributor

The channel will draw on the corporation's extensive
newsgathering operation, which includes over 250 correspondents
reporting from 72 bureaux around the world.

It will have a budget of 25 million pounds per year and the
government said last year it would contribute 6 million pounds
of that to allow the service to run for 24 hours a day.

(Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Dominic Evans)

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