Listening Post

Israel's i24 News and the quest for reach

A look at Israel's English language news channel, its mission and its prospects of finding an audience.

Last Modified: 13 Oct 2013 09:57
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Over the past half dozen years or so, news consumers have seen the launch of a host of new, global, English language, 24-hour news channels. There is Al Jazeera, bankrolled by Qatar, which made its debut in 2006 and since then, Russia, France, Iran and China have all got in on the act.

The latest country to broadcast its perspective to the rest of the world is Israel. i24News has been on the air for three months and its target audience is clearly not Israeli. It broadcasts in three languages, none of them Hebrew.

Debra Kamin, a Tel Aviv based journalist says: "It's by no means the first time that Israelis and Arabs have worked together in a newsroom, there are Arabs in every newsroom in Israel, but it definitely is the first time that Arab Israelis have had their own format, their own desk, their own place to really speak their mind. As opposed to major international networks like the BBC and Al Jazeera, what they do, is they try to humanise the Israeli side of the stories."

Its founders claim that the channel receives no government money, holds no political affiliation and therefore pledges to cover the news objectively.

But if that really is the case, how can the channel, a start-up still under construction, with holes in the ceilings and typos in the tickers, begin to compete with the newsgathering operations of incumbent cable networks? And can i24 News change how the world sees Israel?

Listening Post's Flo Phillips reports from the banks of the Mediterranean on i24 News, its mission and its prospects of finding an audience.

Listening Post can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.

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