"The channel will mainly focus on what has been called grey areas and cases," Tawfiq Founi, director of Al Jazeera Documentary Channel, said.

"We will look at stories that are distorted or ignored by the Western media on the grounds that they are marginal and insignificant from a Western standpoint, even though these issues are a priority for Arabs and Muslims."

 

The establishment of the documentary channel is based on the interest in man, his environment and the interaction between them, the channel said in a press release.

 

The channel seeks to introduce the Arab world and its varieties to an international audience and it hopes to present stories "truly" and "objectively".

 

Obstacles

 

Although the channel says its media coverage will focus on the cases of Arabs and the less-fortunate societies, it will not confront Arab governments.

 

"Obstacles are actually a part of any media coverage. We do not wish to face obstacles. If we wanted to, we would challenge them as much as we could," said Founi.

 

"We do not want to reveal information on regimes ... . We want to present the rich Arab situation. We are a documentary channel that seeks to fill educational gaps.

 

"Obstacles will always be there, this is the nature of journalism".

 

The channel's programmes editorial philosophy aims to spread the spirit of hope and the culture of communication among peoples and civilisations. 

 

Looking ahead

 

The channel has plenty of plans and ambitions, starting from choosing programmes made by local and international producers or other TV channels that have a similar editorial orientation, Founi said.

 

Documentary Channel also aims to produce exclusive programmes, whether by in-house production units through co-ordination with the other Al Jazeera channels, or in co-operation with freelance producers, who have current contracts with Al Jazeera to cover Africa and Asia.

 

Founi said: "Our future plan is to have partnership with producers of production companies and TV channels whose editorial styles comply with Al Jazeera's.

 

"Our objective behind these future plans is to change the way of dealing with the reality of people and their environments in the Arab world, Africa, Asia and the so-called southern world".

 

"Dealing with these areas is usually based on a political or tourist agenda. However, we tackle these areas and the Arab world by focusing on the people who live there."