Al Jazeera English Launches in Canada on Bell TV, Rogers and Vidéotron

International channel to open bureau in Canada

TORONTO, May 4 /CNW/ - Al Jazeera English, the award-winning 24-hour global news and current affairs channel, is pleased to announce that the channel began broadcasting in Canada today on Bell TV, Rogers and Vidéotron.

AJE will be available to subscribers of Bell TV on channel 516, Rogers in Ontario on channel 176 and Vidéotron illico Digital TV on channel 173.

Tony Burman, the Managing Director of AJE, is the former Editor in Chief of CBC News. Commenting on AJE's launch in Canada Burman said, "We are extremely pleased that AJE's groundbreaking news and programming is now available in Canada, one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to travel throughout Canada and hear first-hand the great demand for the channel. I believe that our cutting-edge reporting and programming will fill an important void by bringing another voice in international news to this important market. This is an exciting first step in bringing AJE to Canada, and we hope to announce additional carriage deals in the near future."

Additionally, AJE will open a Canadian bureau in June. The new bureau, which will be based in Toronto, signifies the channel's commitment to presenting Canadian news and perspective to a global audience. This will make AJE the only international news channel with a bureau in Canada.

Canadian-born journalist Imtiaz Tyab will join AJE as a Correspondent. Tyab was most recently a London-based reporter for BBC World television. Prior to that, he was Washington, DC correspondent for BBC News and World Service Radio. Tyab has reported extensively from around the United Kingdom, as well as from Europe, South Asia and the Middle East. He was previously a reporter for CBC News in Vancouver.

Senior Producer Jet Belgraver will also join AJE's Canadian bureau. She has been an award-winning news and documentary producer with the CBC, including The National, and has experience in North America, Europe and Latin America.

During the first weeks of May, AJE will report throughout the country, presenting Canadian issues to an international audience. Some of the stories expected to air include: a feature on Canada's role in Afghanistan and a look at what Canada's departure in 2011 will mean for NATO; in-depth features on Canada's oil sands, including reports from Alberta on life at Fort McMurray and an examination of the environmental impact of the project; and a report from Winnipeg on how the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings will impact the nation's aboriginal people.

Additionally, AJE programs will provide special coverage of Canada in the weeks ahead. These will include segments on the weekly program, Frost Over The World with Sir David Frost. Also, in today's edition of The Riz Khan Show - which is broadcast at 12:30pm, 5:30pm and 10:30pm ET - Canada's involvement in Afghanistan will be debated by a panel including Bob Rae, a prominent member of the opposition Liberal Party.

Later this month, Canadian journalist Avi Lewis will focus Fault Lines, AJE's Washington-based documentary program, on Canada, including the debate over the country's controversial climate policy.

In November the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that they would include AJE on its digital 'Lists of Eligible Satellite Services'. The announcement from the CRTC followed a formal application process and a 30-day consultation notice period during which Canadians were allowed to submit letters voicing their opinions of AJE. The submission process demonstrated an overwhelming demand for the channel with 98% of the submissions, approximately 2,800 letters and emails, being positive.

Since launching in 2006, AJE has become one of the world leaders in the coverage of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. With broadcast centres strategically located in Kuala Lumpur, Doha, London and Washington, DC, and more than 70 news bureaus around the world, the channel's aim is to provide independent and impartial news for a global audience.

AJE has more than 1000 employees worldwide, representing more than 50 nationalities - including many from Canada - making AJE's newsrooms one of the most diverse in the world.

In its short time on air, Al Jazeera English has been recognized for its distinguished reporting and programming. In 2008 and 2009, AJE has received awards from the Monte-Carlo TV Festival, Amnesty International and YouTube. Additionally, AJE has received nominations for international Emmy awards in both the News and Current Affairs categories and the Royal Television Society awards as the 2009 "News Channel of the Year".

Over the last months, AJE has been unmatched in covering many major international events.

Select editorial highlights include:

Haiti Earthquake: Al Jazeera English's correspondents were among the first international journalists in Haiti following the devastating earthquake, reporting from various locations across the country and presenting the human stories at the center of the tragedy. AJE has continued to report from Haiti, opening a bureau in Port-au-Prince and committing to follow a Haitian family for one year as the country deals with the aftermath of the earthquake.

Red Shirt Protests: AJE currently has two teams in Thailand to provide live coverage of the anti-government red shirt protest movement.

United States Recession/Healthcare: Over the past year, AJE has expanded its coverage of under-reported sections of the United States, deploying correspondents across the country and featuring special coverage of the continued impact of the great recession and the passage of health care reform.

Chile Earthquake: AJE's reporters in Latin America provided extensive and detailed coverage of the Chile earthquake. Three teams reported from Chile in the aftermath of the disaster.

Iraq Election: With teams of reporters located across the country, AJE provided comprehensive and in-depth coverage of the Iraq elections, giving viewers valuable insight into what the elections meant for the country. Sudan Election: AJE provided full and detailed coverage of Sudan's first multiparty elections in 24 years. Coverage included live reporting from throughout the country and a roundtable discussion with five leaders from the government and various opposition groups, including Dr Maryam al-Sadik al-Mahdi, a senior member of Umma and the first woman to occupy a central post in a sectarian party.

Kyrgyzstan: AJE had two reporting teams in Kyrgyzstan during the overthrow of President Bakiyev.

Maoist Fighters in Nepal: AJE reported from Nepal as thousands of Maoist fighters, including children, continue to languish in camps across Nepal. Political uncertainty and deep divisions over whether they should join the military continue to stall efforts to bring the fighters back into society.

Climate Change in Bangladesh: Bhola island is ground zero of climate change, the 400,000 islanders face the constant threat of rising sea water and river erosion. Climate expert believe that the island will be totally submerged in the next 50 years. AJE has examined what the people living in Bhola are doing to try and maintain their ways of life.

Exclusive Interview with Radovan Karadzic: In advance of the resumption of Karadzic's trial at the The Hague, AJE's Rageh Omaar interviewed the former leader and traveled to Serbia and Bosnia to investigate the decade-long period he spent in hiding, while examining his legacy in present-day Bosnia and beyond. For additional information on how to watch AJE in Canada please visit www.IwantAJE.ca

About Al Jazeera English

Al Jazeera English is the first English language world news channel to be headquartered in the Middle East. Launched in November 2006, Al Jazeera English seeks to present every side and every angle to its stories and act as a bridge between cultures. With unique access as the channel of reference for Middle East events, and bureaus strategically placed around the world. Al Jazeera English provides independent and impartial news for a global audience, giving voice to different perspectives from under-reported regions around the world.

Al Jazeera English is available in more than 100 countries to more than 190 million households worldwide, and was awarded "Best 24 Hour News Programme" at the 48th Annual Monte Carlo Television Festival and has received awards from the Royal Television Society, Amnesty International and YouTube. The channel also recently received its second International Emmy nominations - one in news for its coverage of the Russia-Georgia War, one in current affairs for AJE's Witness Special - Return to Nablus, one for best documentary for Shooting the Messenger and one for digital programmes for its coverage of the US election.

Al Jazeera started out more than thirteen years ago as the first independent Arabic news channel in the world dedicated to providing comprehensive television news and live debate for the Arab world. Al Jazeera was formally named the Al Jazeera Network in March 2006, transforming its operation into an international media corporation - the Al Jazeera Network now consists of the flagship Al Jazeera Arabic channel, Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Documentary, Al Jazeera Sport, Al Jazeera.net (the English and Arabic web sites), the Al Jazeera Media Training and Development Center, the Al Jazeera Center for Studies, Al Jazeera Mubasher (Live), and Al Jazeera Mobile.

Visit www.aljazeera.net/english for more details.

For further information: Molly Conroy - molly.conroy@aljazeera.net, Office: (416) 545-0168, Mobile: (917) 348-8540