The Aljazeera network has launched an Arabic-language children's channel.
The channel was inaugurated on Friday in the presence of Shaikha Mozah Bint Nasser al-Missned, wife of the amir of Qatar and the key force behind the venture, as well as 22 children representing the different Arab states.
Shaikha Mozah said the channel was a "decision made to meet the needs of our children".
"I hope this channel is a bridge for communication between Arab children and children around the world," she added.
Aljazeera Children's Channel (JCC) is an Arabic-language channel dedicated to children and will produce 40% of its own programmes, a ratio touted as being one of the highest of any children's channel worldwide.
"Through the concept of 'Edutainment', JCC opens up avenues for Arab children to learn about different environments and cultures," the channel's statement said.
Shaikha Mozah (L) said the aim
was to meet children's needs
"It also helps them develop self-esteem, respect their traditions and values, appreciate people around them and develop a passion for learning," it added.
Based in the Qatari capital Doha with a staff of around 235, JCC will feature a range of programmes for children aged between three and 15.
The channel will air regular debates covering issues facing Arab children as well as productions on health, science and current affairs.
"In view of the existing state of television, where children are exposed to violent and inappropriate material on a daily basis, her highness Shaikha Mozah made a momentous decision to establish Aljazeera Children's Channel," said Shaikh Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani, chairman of the board of Aljazeera Group.
But while the emphasis of the channel is largely on education, its management stresses that it has not forgotten that fun and games are what really make children tick.
"We will try to present something which is a balance between the need of a child to be part of a social tissue and the need of a child to be a child. This is our priority, a child is a child. But let's prepare him to be a good citizen and a constructive citizen and a positive citizen," executive general manager Mahmoud Bouneb told Aljazeera.Net.
Bouneb said it was necessary to
turn a child into a good citizen
The Aljazeera Children's Channel is hoping to build on the success of the Aljazeera brand which already includes the Arabic news station and two Aljazeera sports channels.
Aljazeera will be launching a global English-language news channel Aljazeera International next year as well as an Arabic-language documentary channel.
"Aljazeera is no longer just a news channel. Aljazeera is now a brand name and it is a brand name which is diversifying its activities," Bouneb said.