TV journalist Jumana Namour
London – Al-Quds Al-Arabi
Al-Quds Al-Arabi, the respected London-based pan-Arab newspaper, has reported the imminent launch of a new Arabic-language news channel called Al Ghad TV, which aims to compete with Gulf news stalwarts Al Jazeera based in Doha, and the Saudi-based Al Arabiya TV news.
The London-based satellite news channel aims to be "impartial, objective and receptive to its audience."
Al Ghad TV will have a news and entertainment focus but will also embrace a number of programmes packaged for the youth. It will be broadcast 24 hours a day via the Nilesat and Hotbird satellites.The news desk will host a number of well-known journalists who made their names on Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya TV, and BBC Arabic. Television presenter Jumana Namour, a former Al Jazeera star, is expected to host a political talk show which will comment on current events, while also being responsible for the political output of the station. Namour, who has been approached by Mayadin and Sky News Arabia, turned down the offers in favour of the London-based channel.
While Al Ghad TV will have regional studios across the Arab world, newsroom operations will be chiefly coordinated through the London, Cairo and Beirut offices. The British headquarters, located in West London, reportedly boast technology on the scale of television news giants Sky News and the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Well-known Palestinian journalist Nabil Darwish is to be editor-in-chief, whose TV credentials include adviser to France 24.
The channel is reportedly being financed by five Arab investors, from the Gulf predominantly, and also Egypt.
Lebanese director Mirna Khayat who has been nicknamed "star-maker" due to her reputation for boosting the careers of anyone who comes into her orbit, will be heading the entertainment news division.
According to commentators, what distinguishes this station from others is that 90 percent of the people who will be working for Al Ghad, have considerable experience in international and Arab news, although their remit is to attract young faces and talent to help package news targetted towards the youth generation. A special committee was formed to hand-pick the staff.
The establishment and mechanics of this London-based Arab channel, is being handled by veteran Palestinian journalist Zaki Chehab, who also runs Film Matters and Arabstoday, an Arab news website with an ever-growing fan-base.
Chehab, who is chiefly handling the establishment of the London, Cairo and Beirut studios, said Al Ghad was "ready to start broadcasting" but refused to confirm the staff or its financial backers. “A group of experienced and skillful people known for their respect of viewers' sensibilities will run the channel. My task right now is to launch the channel," Chehab said.
Observers believe that the station’s choice to have a London-base will enable it to have more political licence than its competitors. By combining news with entertainment it is in direct competition with Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya and the Lebanese-based Middle East Broadcasting Corporation [LBC].