19 September 2006 – Al Jazeera English, the new 24-hour English-language news and current affairs channel, headquartered in Doha, announced today its full line up of bureaux and correspondents across Africa ahead of its global launch later this year: it will have bureaux in Cairo, Egypt; Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Nairobi, Kenya; Johannesburg, South Africa and Harare, Zimbabwe.
In addition, Al Jazeera English will share the resources of Al Jazeera Arabic Channel’s African bureaux located in Ndjamena, Chad; Tripoli, Libya; Nouakchott, Mauritania; Rabat, Morocco; Dakar, Senegal; Mogadishu, Somalia and Khartoum, Sudan.
“Our reporting from Africa will be unparalleled. We will have more bureaux and resources dedicated to Africa than any other global broadcaster,” said Nigel Parsons, Managing Director of Al Jazeera English on a visit to South Africa.
Talking from the channel’s Doha headquarters, Director of News, Steve Clark said, “Africa is one of the most pivotal places in the world to report from. It is a continent of hope and change.”
“We are planning other bureaux across the continent of Africa and will be announcing them in due course,” Steve Clark continued.
Al Jazeera will have a strong presence and high level of expertise in Africa through its bureaux and dedicated resources.
In pursuing a news agenda that is all-inclusive, it is the only global news channel to be granted a license to operate a bureau in Zimbabwe. That will give Al Jazeera unique access to this part of Southern Africa.
Andrew Simmons, Africa Bureau Chief, has been co-ordinating sub-Saharan coverage. He will also be deployed on special reporting assignments.
“Large swathes of Africa have been uncovered by television news for too long. And so many parts of this beautiful continent suffer from what I would term reactive coverage. We want to carve out a news agenda that is pro-active. I believe that in doing so the outside world’s perception of this continent could gradually change,” said Andrew Simmons.
“We will set out to normalise news coverage in Africa. While we won’t ignore the tragedy and injustice of conflict, our cameras will bring viewers the myriad stories of achievement and causes for celebration. We want to concentrate on the people of Africa, not necessarily the political initiatives of those in power,” he continued.
Al Jazeera English also announced that it has appointed correspondents Amr El-Kahky in Cairo, Gabi Menezes in Abidjan and Haru Mutasa as correspondent in Nairobi.*
They join Farai Sevenzo as correspondent in Harare and Kalay Maistry as correspondent in Johannesburg whose appointments were announced to the press earlier in the year.
“The teams we have in place show a level of dedication and understanding that I am sure will give us a distinctive edge,” said Andrew Simmons.
NOTES TO EDITORS
* Biographies of REPORTERS AND CORRESPONDENTS IN AFRICA
Africa Bureau Chief
Andrew Simmons has more than 20 years of experience in high profile television news. His awards include winner of two Royal Television Society (RTS) awards. Andrew is an experienced war correspondent – he covered Chechnya, the Bosnian conflict and the first Gulf War during which he spent more than one week in captivity in Basra. He spent nearly 15 years with ITN which included four years as Ireland correspondent and spells running bureaux in the Middle East, Moscow and Europe. He left ITN to join Sky News in 2000 as a senior correspondent for Sky News special reports unit. Andrew joined the BBC in 2001 as a presenter for Interactive Channels and as a regular presenter on BBC News 24. He was appointed BBC Bureau Chief in West Africa in 2004 based in Dakar, Senegal.
Amr El-Kahky, Al Jazeera English’s Cairo Correspondent built his career in international news with Al Jazeera Arabic language channel and the BBC. Amr has been covering all aspects of Egyptian life as Al Jazeera’s Cairo correspondent for the past two years. He has reported on major stories including the 2003 invasion of Iraq, where he was embedded with the American troops in the south of the country. Amr later returned to cover post-Saddam Iraq and covered the assassination of both Mohamad Baqer Al-Hakim and Aqila Al-Hashimi. In 2005 he covered the anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Centre from Washington and New York. Before that, he covered Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan. Amr has produced a range of special coverage and reports for Al Jazeera, including an edition of Under The Microscope programme, entitled Afghanistan after the Taliban. Previously, Amr was a broadcast journalist, reporter and producer with the BBC’s radio and television Arabic services.
Southern Africa Correspondent
Kalay Maistry has over 15 years of experience in journalism from roles with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), and with South Africa’s eTV, Radio 702, and Capital Radio. As senior political reporter with the SABC, Kalay covered major African stories such as the Schabir Shaik fraud and corruption trial, Zimbabwe’s Parliamentary Elections 2005, Parliamentary Elections, Botswana 2004, political reaction to South Africa’s winning bid to stage the 2010 World Cup, South Africa’s 2004 General Election, the official visit of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and of IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato and President Thabo Mbeki’s 2003 state visit to Malaysia. For eTV, South Africa’s first independent television station, Kalay reported on Zimbabwean Presidential Election 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development and on reaction to the attacks on the World Trade Centre in 2003, and to the subsequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Ivory Cost Correspondent
Al Jazeera English’s Gabrielle Menezes has worked across the international broadcast and print media in roles with the Cairo Times, the Guardian, Reuters, Abu Dhabi TV/Middle East Broadcasting, International Television News (ITN) and BBC World. Missing the challenges of reporting as well as life in Africa, Gabrielle moved to Ivory Coast in 2005, where she became a freelance journalist covering the West Africa region and some of the most violent and long-running civil wars in the world. Prior to this role she was a producer for Reuters in London and a researcher for BBC World on the channel’s documentary series, Television for the Environment. Previously in New York she freelanced for Reuters’ New York bureau, and covered various events from entertainment to the UN, when discussions were underway regarding the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Gabrielle also worked for Abu Dhabi TV and Middle East Broadcasting in New York as a freelance producer from the UN.
East Africa CorrespondentHaru Mutasa’s career has encompassed roles with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), CNN, Television New Zealand (TVNZ), Associated Press Television News (APTN) and the Star Sports Network. As a reporter based out of Zimbabwe, Haru produced stories on Zimbabwe for CNN’s Inside Africa, Television New Zealand (TVNZ) and APTN. She worked across the country during its recent eventful past to give international viewers first-hand accounts of the latest developments on the ground. As a floor manager for SABC Africa during the March 2005 Zimbabwe parliamentary elections Haru managed and coordinated all the live studio broadcasts that aired on the elections from Zimbabwe. As an election producer for the SABC in Johannesburg during South Africa’s April 2004 presidential elections she analysed election statistics and translated them into stories to keep viewers fully informed as the results unfolded.
As both a writer and director for film, television and radio, Farai Sevenzo has switched between documentary and fiction in his coverage of major African issues. Farai’s work in African current affairs has seen him report on wars in Sierra Leone, Liberia, the Congo and Northern Uganda. Over the last three years he has been a regular contributor to the UK’s Channel 4 News and to the same channel’s Unreported World programme. He has also contributed to the BBC’s African coverage. As a documentary filmmaker, Farai recorded the ongoing events in Zimbabwe with a series of personal observations that began with the award-winning Zimbabwe 2002 The Children’s War, he covered the Lord’s Resistance Army’s hold on northern Uganda. He has also worked in Africa as an independent film-maker and radio producer.
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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