Al Jazeera children’s channel goes on air

Al Jazeera's children’s channel has an annual budget of US $50 million and is being broadcast in 21 Arab countries, the Palestinian territories as well as Europe.

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By  Vijaya Cherian Published  October 2, 2005

Al Jazeera has launched a new children’s channel that will be on air 18 hours a day. The channel has an annual budget of US $50 million and five foreign bureaux including one in Paris. It is being broadcast in 21 Arab countries, the Palestinian territories and also throughout Europe on Hotbird. The Al Jazeera Children’s Channel hopes to be a first in the Arab world, as the Qatar-based television network bids to overcome criticism over alleged bias in its news broadcasts. “It will take some time,” says Mahmoud Buneb, the executive director of the channel, who stressed that this channel will be different. “Children adore American cartoons. We will provide subdued, calm content,” he was quoted as saying in an interview with AFP. Although Arabic-language children’s programming can already be seen on MBC3, Al Jazeera’s youth channel hopes to inculcate modern values such as open-mindedness and tolerance in Arab children between the ages of three and 15. “We are embarking on a television project that will, we hope, be viewed by television viewers, families and children alike,” adds Buneb. The channel is a joint venture between Al Jazeera and the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. The foundation owns 90% of the venture and is a publicly-funded organisation headed by Shaikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Masnad, the wife of the Amir of Qatar.

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