Qatar-based Al Jazeera Media Network, which is hard at work preparing to launch its new America channel this year, has announced plans to offer locally-tailored news programmes in the UK, as well as the intention of launching a French station.
The network’s Director General Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al-Thani told Agence France Press earlier in the week that the United Kingdom-branded offering would be called Al Jazeera UK, and added that studies on a French-language channel are in “advanced stages.”
A spokesperson for the company confirmed the move to Doha News, saying that Al Jazeera UK will consist of five hours of locally-developed daily programming, which would slot into primetime hours on Al Jazeera English.
Al Jazeera is expected to move into London’s Qatar-owned Shard skyscraper, and those offices would be the likely home of AJ UK.
In contrast, Al Jazeera French is planned to be a full-on channel with the aim of “building bridges with other cultures and peoples” according to Al-Thani, although where it would be located and details of the programming are still under development.
Al Jazeera Turk, which has been in development since at least early 2011, is also expected to go on air either by end of this year or early next year, according to the AJN spokesperson. Some Turkish reports have attributed delays in that channel’s launch to disagreements between Al Jazeera and Turkey.
The network did launch a channel headquartered in Sarajevo, Bosnia in 2011 called Al Jazeera Balkans.
Efforts to develop channels outside Europe and America have stalled though. Plans for an Africa-based Al Jazeera Kiswahili channel have been put on hold and the network has no immediate intention of launching an Urdu-language station, the spokesman confirmed.
Credit: Photo by Osama Saeed