i24News Israeli TV rival to al-Jazeera set to air in UK

By Shira Rubin, July 5, 2013
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Israel’s first independent, round-the-clock news station was due to launch on Monday from its new Jaffa headquarters, as a rival to the Qatar-based news network al-Jazeera.

The station, called i24News, will broadcast in English and French, as well as in Arabic for five hours each day.

Former French diplomat and media advisor Frank Melloul set up the project, with the financial support of French-Israeli businessman and telecoms mogul Patrick Drahi.

Mr Melloul stressed that the network relied on private funds and received no support from the Israeli government.

i24News will aim to battle ‘prejudice’ against Israel

He added that i24News intends to provide an alternative to the “black and white” perspective on Israel offered by news networks such as al-Jazeera, France24, BBC and CNN.

“It’s about time we had another voice to hear in this region besides that of Al Jazeera. We will offer a different point of view to those zapping between channels,” said Mr Melloul in an interview.

“When rockets are fired towards Israel, and the population of the south needs to protect their children from the debris, those are the images that we will show”.

i24News will aim to battle “ignorance and prejudice” against Israel through a diversity of perspectives, he added. Content will be co-produced with the Israeli commercial station Channel 2.

The current staff of 45 is expected to grow to 150, and will include freelance reporters from around the world.

As soon as the channel launches, the internet site, mobile phone applications and video on demand features will be available in all three languages, and may include more languages in the future.

In the coming year, i24News will be available to viewers in the UK and Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia via satellite, and plans are in the works to set up a satellite service in the United States in 2014, said Mr Melloul.

Last updated: 12:45pm, July 5 2013