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Humanitarian satellite channel to be launched by end of 2008

Child beggars queue for food in Kano. Aminu Abubakar/IRIN

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will launch an independent humanitarian and environmental TV satellite channel by the end of 2008 - the first of its kind in the world, according to UAE Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

[Read this report in Arabic]

“The TV channel will provide a good opportunity for forging constructive partnerships with local and international humanitarian, economic and media organisations for the benefit of humanity,” said Sheikh Hamdan, who is also chairman of the UAE Red Crescent Authority.

“The channel will be an independent entity. It will target ordinary people as well as humanitarian workers and donors and address its audience in Arabic and English,” Abdul Rahman al-Taniji, head of media at the UAE Red Crescent and the channel’s coordinator, told IRIN.

“In the initial stage, programmes will be produced in cooperation with other channels operating in the country,” he said.

Al-Taniji said the channel was a very important project: “The world is facing many challenges related to conflicts, natural disasters, as well as silent ones like climate change which has a very serious impact on the lives of people on our planet. Diseases and epidemics are also spreading in many poor countries and among vulnerable groups. It is time to have an international public opinion that cares for these issues and supports them. We believe the upcoming channel will take this role,” he said.

Al-Taniji said the channel will be financed by local and foreign donors, sponsors and partners. “UN agencies and non-governmental organisations can contribute to the project by sponsoring some programmes, displaying their projects and activities through it and benefiting from the information provided by the channel to plan and implement its projects according needs on the ground,” he said.

A committee to establish the channel was set up this week, he added.


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