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Qatar: Al-Jazeera Documentary Channel

BBC Monitoring

Text of report in English by Qatari newspaper Gulf Times website on 1 January

The Al-Jazeera Documentary Channel will celebrate its first anniversary today, with the broadcast of the 24-hour channel's first in-house produced documentary.

Launched on 1 January 2007, with the concept of humanity, environment and the interaction between them as its theme, the Arabic channel has achieved "global success", according to a spokesperson.

"Within one year, we gave boost to high-quality Arabic documentary genre, which was otherwise a monopoly of Western media," said the supervisor of Al-Jazeera Documentary Channel, Tawfiq Founi, while talking to media persons yesterday.

Among other achievements, the channel has successfully organized training courses for the direction and production of documentaries in co-operation with the Al-Jazeera Media Training Centre for the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] youth.

The channel also purchased 967 hours-worth of documentaries to be broadcast from its station, and signed deals to produce more t! han 150 hours of Arabic-language documentaries in the year.

The first of these resulted in a 90-minute documentary on the late Mustafa al-Aqad, a renowned Syrian director killed in a terrorist attack in 2005, in both Arabic and English.

The channel has also been able to establish higher standards in production mechanisms and developed relations with professional directors, producers and TV stations around the world, by organizing film festivals.

The Arab-centric channel is set to broadcast a wide range of programmes on Ramadan, Arab leaders and Islamophobia this year.

Meanwhile, the promotions unit supervisor, Vijaykumar Mirchandani, announced the upcoming website of the channel and gave a preview along with screening of a short film displaying the channel's challenges and future plans.

Jonathan Paul, from the acquisition department, talked about the upcoming documentaries between January and March. Some of the groundbreaking ones according t! o him are: Terror Advocates (political), Price of Sugar (political), B lind Sight (health), Who Killed the Electric Car (technology), So Much So Fast (health) and King of Clubs (sports-related).

Source: Gulf Times website, Doha, in English 1 Jan 08



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