Israel: I24 news channel launched, new view on Mediterranean

Broadcasting from Jaffa to region in Arabic, French and English

17 July, 18:51

    (ANSAmed) - TEL AVIV, JULY 17 - Those needing to keep abreast of what's happening in the Middle East have another tool as of today: I24 has joined the ranks of Al Jazeera, France24, BBC and CNN, and will be broadcasting 24 hours a day in English, French and Arabic. The head offices are in Luxembourg but the broadcasting studios are located in the Jaffa port near Tel Aviv. ''Those tuning in will see the Jaffa seafront in the background with a view across the Mediterranean,'' spokesman Irit Segev told ANSAmed a few hours before the first news service was due to go on air. The station has 250 employees - including some 150 journalists and researchers - and was the idea of former French diplomat Frank Melloul, while funding came from the French-Israeli businessman Patrick Draghi. Melloul recently told the press that the new broadcaster would run entirely on private funding and not receive any aid from the Israeli government. I24 will be making use of its network of correspondents and contributors across the region, in Jerusalem, Gaza, Nazareth, Cairo, and other locations. Each of its three channels (English, French and Arabic) has three teams which will also update the website. Archival materials will be provided by the Israeli private television station Channel 2.

    It was a journalist who made a name for himself on Channel 2, former Gaza correspondent Suleiman Al-Shafi, who will be one of the most well-known figures to take part in the new broadcaster.

    Al-Shafi feels that the Arab Spring opened up a number of opportunities for an initiative like I24: there is the need to understand both the complex and fascinating processes underway in nearby countries as well as sides to the stories not yet shed light on, he said. I24 will seek to focus on the latter without any preconceived notions. According to the statements made by its directors, I24 has set itself the task of eliminating negative prejudices against Israel but will not act as a 'spokesman' for Israeli authorities. Its ambition, said Al-Shafi, ''is to broaden the range of opinions and make room for human rights and positions both on the right and the left, as well as liberal ideas''. In Europe I24 can be watched via satellite or on its website: (ANSAmed)
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