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Al Jazeera to launch regional Balkan TV

The Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera is to launch a regional TV station in the Balkans in January, according to Dnevni Avaz, the Bosnian daily newspaper.

Al Jazeera has reportedly bought the Bosnian TV network NTV 99 for 1.2 million euros (US$1.56 million). It plans to invest 10 million more in the project – now called Al Jazeera Balkans - by the end of 2010, says the report.

Advertising locally for a managing director for the headquarters in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Hercegovina, the broadcaster states: ‘Al Jazeera Balkans will be a leader in providing high quality news and current affairs…in the region, and will have offices throughout the Balkans and bureaus in key locations worldwide.’

Around 40 journalists are being sought for the network in the region, says Dnevni Avaz – mostly from Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia.

Al Jazeera launched across the Middle East with its Arabic news and current affairs channel in 1996, and now offers a range of programming including documentaries, sports and children’s channels - as well as an English language news channel, which has been broadcast globally since 2006.

Its children’s channel, JCC, launched its first 3D animated series, Saladin, on 17 September, following a US$8.5 million production partnership with the Malaysian Government’s MDeC. The 26 episode serial will now be marketed in Russia, China, Turkey, Europe, Canada and some African countries, according to Mahmoud Bounab, JCC general executive director.

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