Riz Khan, independent broadcaster and journalist based in Atlanta and London is all set to join Al Jazeera International. The 24-hour English news and current-affairs channel is from Al Jazeera, the Middle East-based Arabic news channel. It is scheduled to be launched in early 2006.
On his move, the popular television anchor, said, "Al Jazeera brings together all the pieces to provide a complete picture on global issues. I'm incredibly excited to have this rare chance to build something so new and influential from the ground up. There are very few opportunities for journalists to shape the direction of television and to provide a fresh perspective on world news."
Since leaving CNN in 2001, after eight years as one of the network's high-profile personalities, Riz established himself as an international television programme-maker, writer and conference moderator. On the new channel, Riz Khan is to host an interactive show, allowing viewers to pose questions to newsmakers.
Riz Khan joins Al Jazeera International after stints at BBC and CNN. At the BBC, where he was involved with the launch of BBC World Service Television News in 1991, he hosted the first show of the channel when it went on air. He joined CNN in 1993, and is credited with launching the famous interactive "Q&A" format.
Al Jazeera International will be the world's first English language news channel to be headquartered in the Middle East. Headquartered in Doha, Qatar, the channel will have broadcast centres in Kuala Lumpur, London and Washington, and supporting bureaux worldwide. The channel is presently hiring staff for its broadcast centres.
"Al Jazeera International is all about revolutionising viewer choice. I've now got the chance to offer viewers around the globe a much-needed voice on the world stage," said Khan, on his next assignment and the show. The global interactive show is to go live from Washington, and will feature world leaders, newsmakers and celebrities, and the concept reminds one of his signature shows on CNN - 'Q&A with Riz Khan' and 'Q&A-Asia with Riz Khan'.
The first channel from the Al Jazeera group, the Arabic channel, was launched in 1996, and claims to have 50 million viewers worldwide. Agency reports say that the channel gained viewers in the Arab world by covering issues that were previously untouched by regional media.
The channel has also been in the news in the context of accusations by countries including the US, for what they saw as biased reporting on Afghanistan and Iraq.