Al Jazeera English Goes to Canada

By kevin 

Al Jazeera English, the English-language news channel headquartered in Qatar, begins broadcasting this week on Canadian television where its being made available for the first time.

This June, Al Jazeera English has plans to open its own Canadian bureau, which is to be based in Toronto and, according to the news org’s release, “will make AJE the only international news channel with a bureau in Canada.”

AJE also picked up a new Canadian-born correspondent from the BBC and a Senior Producer from the CBC. The former editor in chief of CBC News, Tony Burman, is now the managing director of AJE.

Release with details after the jump…


Al Jazeera English Launches in Canada on Bell TV, Rogers and Vidéotron

International channel to open bureau in Canada

May 4, 2010 – Al Jazeera English, the award-winning 24-hour global news and current affairs channel, is pleased to announce that the channel began broadcasting in Canada today on Bell TV, Rogers and Vidéotron.

AJE will be available to subscribers of Bell TV on channel 516, Rogers in Ontario on channel 176 and Vidéotron illico Digital TV on channel 173.

Tony Burman, the Managing Director of AJE, is the former Editor in Chief of CBC News. Commenting on AJE’s launch in Canada, Burman said, “We are extremely pleased that AJE’s groundbreaking news and programming is now available in Canada, one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to travel throughout Canada and hear first-hand the great demand for the channel. I believe that our cutting-edge reporting and programming will fill an important void by bringing another voice in international news to this important market. This is an exciting first step in bringing AJE to Canada, and we hope to announce additional carriage deals in the near future.”

Additionally, AJE will open a Canadian bureau in June. The new bureau, which will be based in Toronto, signifies the channel’s commitment to presenting Canadian news and perspective to a global audience. This will make AJE the only international news channel with a bureau in Canada.

Canadian-born journalist Imtiaz Tyab will join AJE as a Correspondent. Tyab was most recently a London-based reporter for BBC World television. Prior to that, he was Washington, DC correspondent for BBC News and World Service Radio. Tyab has reported extensively from around the United Kingdom, as well as from Europe, South Asia and the Middle East. He was previously a reporter for CBC News in Vancouver.

Senior Producer Jet Belgraver will also join AJE’s Canadian bureau. She has been an award-winning news and documentary producer with the CBC, including The National, and has experience in North America, Europe and Latin America.

During the first weeks of May, AJE will report throughout the country, presenting Canadian issues to an international audience. Some of the stories expected to air include: a feature on Canada’s role in Afghanistan and a look at what Canada’s departure in 2011 will mean for NATO; in-depth features on Canada’s oil sands, including reports from Alberta on life at Fort McMurray and an examination of the environmental impact of the project; and a report from Winnipeg on how the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings will impact the nation’s aboriginal people.

Additionally, AJE programs will provide special coverage of Canada in the weeks ahead. These will include segments on the weekly program, Frost Over The World with Sir David Frost. Also, in today’s edition of The Riz Khan Show – which is broadcast at 12:30pm, 5:30pm and 10:30pm ET – Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan will be debated by a panel including Bob Rae, a prominent member of the opposition Liberal Party.

Later this month, Canadian journalist Avi Lewis will focus Fault Lines, AJE’s Washington-based documentary program, on Canada, including the debate over the country’s controversial climate policy.

In November the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that they would include AJE on its digital ‘Lists of Eligible Satellite Services’. The announcement from the CRTC followed a formal application process and a 30-day consultation notice period during which Canadians were allowed to submit letters voicing their opinions of AJE. The submission process demonstrated an overwhelming demand for the channel with 98% of the submissions, approximately 2,800 letters and emails, being positive.

Since launching in 2006, AJE has become one of the world leaders in the coverage of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. With broadcast centres strategically located in Kuala Lumpur, Doha, London and Washington, DC, and more than 70 news bureaus around the world, the channel’s aim is to provide independent and impartial news for a global audience.

AJE has more than 1000 employees worldwide, representing more than 50 nationalities – including many from Canada – making AJE’s newsrooms one of the most diverse in the world.

In its short time on air, Al Jazeera English has been recognized for its distinguished reporting and programming. In 2008 and 2009, AJE has received awards from the Monte-Carlo TV Festival, Amnesty International and YouTube. Additionally, AJE has received nominations for international Emmy awards in both the News and Current Affairs categories and the Royal Television Society awards as the 2009 “News Channel of the Year”.

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