Dubai presenter fronts new BBC World current affairs show

The first of a new series of current affairs programmes covering the Arab world has aired on BBC World. Presented by Shahnaz Pakravan, Arab World Direct is due to be broadcast at six-weekly intervals.

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By  David Cass Published  August 1, 2002

BBC World has launched the first of a new series of current affairs programmes dedicated to coverage of the Arab world. Arab World Direct is made in Dubai by the Al Arabia production house and presented by Shahnaz Pakravan, who began her broadcasting career at Dubai television.

Arab World Direct joins an impressive stable of existing shows, each dedicated to a specific region of the world. They include, Europe Direct, Africa Direct, Australia Direct and Asia Today. BBC world’s Director of Airtime sales, Jonathan Howlett, said of Arab World Direct, “This programme builds on the already significant commitment we have to this region both editorially and commercially and reflects the growing importance of the region in global affairs.”

The first of the series went to air at 0130 local time on 1st August and will be repeated seven times at different times during the next three days. It contained four reports, one on the Arab media industry’s struggle to come of age, one on the social implications of infertility, one on a Syrian video game which is taking on the global giants, and one exploring the export trade in shi-sha at a time when its popularity is being questioned within the region.

It is planned to release five more editions, one every six weeks. Shahnaz Pakravan told itp.net that the programme team would cover stories from the Maghreb to the Levant and across to the Gulf. “This is not just a programme about the Gulf,” she said, “but more a digest of issues which are important to the region as a whole.”

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