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Qatar’s Al Araby launched from London

Al Araby TV Network, the new Qatari-owned Arab satellite television channel, has launched across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) from its base in London.

Available from 25 January, the free-to-air channel aims to be ‘a platform for Arab youth, talent, energy and aspirations’ with content ranging from news to entertainment, Rapid TV News reports.

Fadaat Media, the Qatari company that owns the pan-Arab daily Al-Araby al-Jadeed (‘The New Arab’) and its online editions, is behind Al Araby TV.

“We are interested first and foremost in people and their concerns, rather than in regimes, businessmen and religious extremists”, said Islam Lotfy, CEO, Al Araby TV.

“We are passionate about the issues and concerns of everyday people and their lives and dreams,” he told al-Araby al-Jadeed, adding that 60% of the channel’s content is politics and news and the other 40% is entertainment, with drama, music and independent films.

Al Araby TV has been touted as a rival to Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera, which has been heavily criticised for showing bias towards the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt – a claim it rejects.

Islam Lotfy told the BBC in November that while Al Jazeera “is a party in a political battle, we are not. Up to this moment, there is no interference in the editorial policy from Qatar”.