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Al-Araby TV launches on anniversary of Egyptian revolution Open in fullscreen

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Al-Araby TV launches on anniversary of Egyptian revolution

Staff say the channel will not pander to the vested state or extremist interests [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 January, 2015

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The chief of new satellite channel al-Araby al-Jadeed says it will broadcast independent news and programmes reflecting the real life concerns of Arabs, and will not pander to the interests of regimes and religious extremists.

A new Arab satelite TV channel is to start its live transmission from the London on Sunday 25 January.

Fadaat Media, the Qatari company that owns the pan Arab daily al-Araby al-Jadeed, and its online editions in Arabic and English, is behind the new channel. 

"We are interested first and foremost in people and their concerns, rather than in regimes, businessmen and religious extremists", Islam Lotfy, CEO of al-Araby TV, told al-Araby's Anas Azraq.

"We are passionate about the issues and concerns of everyday people and their lives and dreams", he said.

The date of the channel's launch, 25 January, was chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, an event that filled millions of people with hope for a new beginning in the Middle East.

The channel will broadcast a mixture of news and entertainment.

"We are not a news channel", said Lotfy. "60 percent of our content is politics and news and the other 40 percent is entertainment, with drama, music and independent films".

Lotfy first had the idea for the TV station four years ago following the Maspero massacre in Egypt in October 2011, when 27 Coptic Christians were killed in one hour. The massacre took place outside the Maspero building in Cairo, where Egyptian state media is based.

"On the day of the killings an Egyptian TV presenter told Muslims to go into the streets and protect the army from the Christians", Lotfy said. "At that point, and as young people participating in the revolution, we realized how important the role of the media was".

Lotfy started to set up a channel - then called Arab Egypt Channel - with al-Araby's current manager Ahmad Zein, but it was shut down after eleven days. They succeeded in gaining another licence but political instability in Egypt forced Lotfy and Zein to put the project on hold.

"But we realized the importance of the project and decided not to give up on our dream", Lotfy recounts. With Fadaat Media's support, it was eventually set up as a London-based media outlet that would cover the whole Arab world.

Al-Araby TV will be broadcasted on NileSat with the frequency 10815 and on Es'hailSat with frequency 11142.

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