(JTA) — A new Israeli television channel that will broadcast news 24 hours a day in English, French and Arabic is set to launch this summer.
The channel plans to compete with established global news outlets such as Al Jazeera, according to Carlos Gurovich, head of production for i24news in France.
The i24news channel, based in Jaffa Port near Tel Aviv, "will broadcast news from the heart of Middle East," the channel said in a statement. "The letter ‘i’ was chosen as representing several of the topics and values that will guide the channel: international, information, independent, individual, innovation, interactive, etc. The number 24, of course, stands for a 24/7 broadcast."
Gurovich said the channel would be funded privately, unlike other projects such as the Alef Network in South America or the J channel in France that depended on the support of their Jewish communities.
"This gives the channel the independence to work without depending on community money or donors funds," he told JTA.
The channel will be partially funded by the French-Israeli businessman and telecommunications mogul Patrick Drahi. Frank Melloul, a former French government adviser on security and disarmament, will serve as chief executive.
Gurovich was a member of the founding team of Israel’s Channel 2, the country’s first commercial channel. He also served as director of the Argentinian Alef Network, a cable channel that was distributed in South America in the 1990s.
i24news will have state-of-the-art technology as well as applications to cell phones, video on demand, a website and 24-hour news coverage in three languages, Gurovich said.
It will run live news reports daily from 6 a.m. to midnight and taped programming during the remaining hours. The news programs will include hard news, as well as interviews and news magazines. The current staff of 45 is expected to grow to about 150.
An Internet site in English, French and Arabic will be launched at the same time as the channel at www.i24news.tv.