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Al-Jazeera Int'l Vows 'Unparalleled' News From Africa
The international television network will have five African bureaus and correspondents in seven cities, giving it one of the most comprehensive networks in Africa of any news organization.
The launch of Al-Jazeera International has been postponed several times, but it is expected to begin broadcasting this year.
"Our reporting from Africa will be unparalleled," Nigel Parsons, managing director of Al-Jazeera International, said on a visit to South Africa.
"We will have more bureaux and resources dedicated to Africa than any other global broadcaster."
The Doha-based news service said it has opened bureaus in Cairo, Abidjan, Nairobi, Johannesburg and Harare. More bureaus are planned after the network launches.
People with an interest in African affairs have long complained about news coverage by the Western media, saying it is not comprehensive and too centered on short-term hot spots.
Al-Jazeera's Africa bureau chief Andrew Simmons agrees.
"Large swathes of Africa have been uncovered by television news for too long," he said in a statement.
"We will set out to normalize 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," he said.
"We want to concentrate on the people of Africa, not necessarily the political initiatives of those in power."
In addition to the bureaus, Al-Jazeera International will use the resources its Arabic sister channel has in Chad, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa and Sudan.
Al-Jazeera International has hired a team of big-name correspondents from the BBC and other news organizations including the CBC.
It hopes to rival news services such as CNN and BBC with an international broadcast network.
The network has been given provisional approval for the launch of a satellite service in Canada, but has yet to announce a deal with a broadcast carrier.