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Al-Jazeera unveils African lineup

Published on: 22-Sep-2016

The new 24-hour English-language news and current affairs channel, al-Jazeera International, will operate five bureaux on the continent and a roster of former BBC, CNN and South African Broadcasting Corporation reporters.

The launch of al-Jazeera International has twice been delayed due to construction and technical hitches at its four centres in Doha, Kuala Lumpur, Washington and London.

It was originally due to start in April but was pushed back to June and then September.

Today, al-Jazeera said the English-language channel will launch "later this year".

The channel will operate African bureaux in Cairo, Egypt; the de facto capital of Ivory Coast, Abidjan; the Kenyan capital of Nairobi; Johannesburg in South Africa; and in Harare - the only global news channel to be granted a licence to operate a bureau in the Zimbabwean capital.

The International service will also share resources with its sister Arabic channel which has bureaux in Chad, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa and Sudan.

"Our reporting from Africa will be unparalleled. We will have more bureaux and resources dedicated to Africa than any other global broadcaster," said Nigel Parsons, the managing director of al-Jazeera International.

Andrew Simmons, the Africa bureau chief for al-Jazeera International, said: "Large swathes of Africa have been uncovered by television news for too long. And so many parts of this beautiful continent suffer from what I would term reactive coverage.

"We will set out to normalise news coverage in Africa. While we won't ignore the tragedy and injustice of conflict, our cameras will bring viewers the myriad stories of achievement and causes for celebration.

"We want to concentrate on the people of Africa, not necessarily the political initiatives of those in power," he added.

Simmons was formerly the BBC's bureau chief in west Africa.

Amr El-Kahky has been appointed as Egypt correspondent, having built his career with al-Jazeera's Arabic channel and the BBC.

Former Cairo Times, Guardian, Reuters, BBC and ITN reporter Gabi Menezes will be based in Abidjan.

Haru Mutasa has been appointed as the Kenya correspondent after a career spanning South African Broadcasting Corporation, CNN, Television New Zealand Associated Press Television News and the Star Sports Network.

They join Harare correspondent Farai Sevenzo and Kalay Maistry in Johannesburg.

Report by: Julia Day / The Guardian 

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