Israel’s answer to government-backed international news outlets such as Russia Today, France 24, and Al-Jazeera, has finally been launched.
Wednesday saw the premier of i24 News, an Israeli 24-hour international TV news station, which, though not funded like the aforementioned channels by any government agency, it does have the hefty pockets of Franco-Israeli telecom tycoon Patrick Drahi behind it.
Frank Melloul, 39, a Swiss-born former French diplomat who was instrumental in launching and running France 24, has been tapped to lead the channel.
In an opinion piece published to the channel’s website Wednesday, Melloul said i24′s goal “is to cover international news with a new perspective, as well as all facets of Israeli society. This new perspective is lacking in today’s fast-paced, channel-zapping culture.”
The channel’s newsroom, which will house at its inception some 150 journalists, according to Melloul, is located at the Jaffa port, in southern Tel Aviv.
It will join Jewish News One, an independent, non-profit channel owned by Ukrainian billionaires Igor Kolomoisky and Vadim Rabinovich, as one of two global 24/7 Jewish satellite news organizations. JN1′s budget is much smaller than that of i24 News.
Melloul says that i24 News will be launched on the web first, then on satellite, ADSL and cable and “seeks to connect Israel to the world and the world to Israel.”
I24 News will broadcast around the clock in English and French – and for five hours each day in Arabic.