The Qatar-based news network, Al Jazeera, has signed an exclusive news bulletin sharing agreement with Rajat Sharma-promoted India TV. The daily telecast of the Al Jazeera bulletins, dubbed in Hindi, will begin from September 3 at 11 PM on India TV. There will, however, be no equity partnership between the partners.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Wadah Khanfar, Managing Director, Al Jazeera, said a non-financial agreement signed by the two channels will enable them to exclusively broadcast each other’s prime time news bulletins. Each day a select Al Jazeera prime time news bulletin will be made available to India TV. India TV in turn will provide India-related news to the Arabic channel on a daily basis. The agreement will also include exchange of real time news updates from the respective regions.
The channel plans to set up a Bureau in Delhi, for which it has applied for accreditation with the Information & Broadcasting Ministry. “There is a great demand for Indian political and economic news in the Arab world. A tie-up of this nature is a step to meet this need,” Khanfar said.
The channel recently opened its Bureau in Japan, and plans to set up bureaus in China, Senegal, Ethiopia and Kenya in the near future. Rubbishing all allegations of being an anti-American channel, Khanfar said, “Al Jazeera aims to provide unbiased views to its viewers and the comments of a few ministers will not affect our coverage.”
Speaking on the occasion, Rajat Sharma said there was a dearth of news reports from the Arab world in India. “However, with this tie-up the void will be filled. India TV will also provide an additional picture of events of the Arab world to viewers,” he said.
Al Jazeera came into prominence internationally when it periodically telecast exclusive footage of Bin Laden after the US crackdown in Afghanistan. It quickly became an alternate channel of information on happenings inside Afghanistan and Iraq.