Al Jazeera to launch a Swahili TV channel

Posted on May 24, 2011

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Below is some information Bizextras has landed on Al Jazeera plans to set shop in Kenya.

We are in the process of verifying this information and any additional word on the deal

…The influential television news channel from Qatar has negotiated the rights to install a base in Nairobi in the next few months so that it can cover the whole of East Africa.

Several Al Jazeera officials went to Nairobi in April to meet the director of information, Ezekiel Mutua, his chief Bitange Ndemo, Principal Secretary of the ministry for information and communication, together with other representatives of the Kenyan government.

At the end of their negotiations, Al Jazeera obtained the licences necessary to launch a television channel in Swahili based in Nairobi.

The Qatari channel now only needs to wait for the frequencies to be attributed by the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) before it can begin broadcasting in the next three or four months towards East Africa.

It already has an office in the Kenyan capital, whose journalists have the job of gathering news from all over the region, but depends on the Kenyan stations Citizen TV and Gospel TV which broadcast its content, frequently very late at night.

Al Jazeera is counting on an initial investment of 30 million shillings (€250,000), which will double in two years so that the Swahili language programming can be distributed via cable and satellite.

The reception has to be good in quality in order to compete with the international television channels already receivable in East Africa.

In doing so, the Qatari channel will compete with the Swahili programming on the international radio services, like the BBC and Voice of America.

Its arrival will also upset the Kenyan media groups operating radio and TV stations, such as the Nation Media Group (NMG) owned by the Aga Khan Foundation and Royal Media Services (RMS) owned by the magnate Samuel Kamau Macharia.

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