Qatar's Al Jazeera has confirmed it will launch new TV channels in Turkish and Swahili in 2012, as it embarks on its latest free to air news venture in central Europe's Balkans region.
Al Jazeera Balkans, a news channel for Bosnia and Herzogovina, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Slovenia launched by the network at 1700GMT on Friday (11 November) and will initially broadcast daily from 1800 and midnight local time, via Eutelsat WC3 at 16 degrees East.
"There has been a lot of hard work to get here, but we're delighted to bring Al Jazeera to the Balkans. We're here to create better news in the region and of the region," said Tarik Dodic, managing director, Al Jazeera Balkans.
The channel, headquartered in Sarajevo, boasts a mix of Serbs, Croats and Bosnians, along with staff from other backgrounds. They will also work out of studios in Belgrade, Zagreb and Skopje. As a result, the network says Al Jazeera Balkans will air "the full range of language and accents from the region".
Seasoned regional journalist and the channel's head of news, Goran Milic said: "Getting this diverse mix of people together to produce this broad news product has been a long cherished dream, not just for me, but for the peoples of this region. This bridge building could only happen under the banner of Al Jazeera, with its global commitment to news."
Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al-Thani, director general of the Doha-based Al Jazeera Network added: "We've launched this channel because we want to see Al Jazeera's spirit towards journalism accessible to as many people in as many tongues across the world as possible. We want Al Jazeera Balkans to truly be an open free platform for the people of the region to debate and have a free dialogue."