8th November 2006 – Al Jazeera English, the 24-hour English-language news and current affairs channel, headquartered in Doha, announced today Inside Iraq, a weekly programme hosted by Iraqi born Jasim Azawi that will look into one of the most important - and divisive - political issues of our time.

Inside Iraq will tackle the difficult questions - Is Iraq a fledgling democracy, a beacon of light for reformers in a Middle East largely controlled by kings and dictators, or a disastrous experiment in imperialism, and a breeding ground for extremism? In the context of escalating sectarian strife, and a rising death toll, Inside Iraq will examine these central questions, and a host of other key issues, as well as reacting to the very latest news developments in the country.

Deputy Managing Director, News & Programmes at Al Jazeera English, Ibrahim Helal said, “With no agenda of its own, other than a commitment to fair and objective analysis, Inside Iraq will take an uncompromising look at events in Iraq, offering viewers seldom heard opinions, and encouraging the debate to extend beyond the programme.”

“We decided to have a weekly discussion programme on Iraq as it is the regional issue that has the most implications internationally. The Iraqi crisis is linked to many developments going on from Washington to Tokyo and it is expected to occupy a leading place in the world news agenda for a long time to come,” he continued.

Presented primarily from Doha, with contributions from Al Jazeera English’s many bureaux across the Middle East and beyond, Inside Iraq will be a platform for a diverse range of guests from across the spectrum of opinion on Iraq. Politicians, decision- makers, legislators, experts, and academics– from Iraq to Washington DC and beyond – will debate the issues of the week in a dynamic environment that will not shy away from controversy.

Host Jasim Azawi, himself an Iraqi, was formerly an anchor for the main evening news at Abu Dhabi TV for seven years, where he also presented one of the most successful cross-fire type debate programme on Arab networks called Confrontation (Muwajaha).

Also while at Abu Dhabi TV, Jasim was an Executive Producer of Dunnia, a daily magazine show. An experienced journalist, Jasim has interviewed numerous world and regional leaders, covered the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000 and the attacks of 9/11 in New York.

From 1996-1999 Jasim was with MBC in London where he worked as an editor of two highly successful shows Dialogue with the West and Agenda.

Speaking on the announcement of Inside Iraq Jasim said, “Iraq will remain a hot button political issue for many years to come. Through Inside Iraq I find myself at the heart of this global problem and accompanying debate. I will do my best to cover the most salient topics and germane issues driving all political and military aspects in a calm, bold and balanced style.”

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About Al Jazeera English

Al Jazeera English is the world’s first English language news channel to be headquartered in the Middle East. Broadcasting from within the Middle East, looking outwards, Al Jazeera English will set the news agenda and act as a bridge between cultures. With unique access as the channel of reference for Middle East events, and broadcast centres strategically placed around the world in Doha, Kuala Lumpur, London and Washington DC, Al Jazeera English will balance the information flow from South to North, providing accurate, impartial and objective news for a global audience from a grass roots level, giving voice to different perspectives from under-reported regions around the world.

Al Jazeera English is building on the ground-breaking heritage of its sister Arab-language channel – Al Jazeera, which was responsible for changing the face of news within the Middle East, now extending that fresh perspective from regional to global.

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