Omaar joins Al Jazeera lineup

By Caitlin Pike

Al Jazeera International has added Rageh Omaar to the lineup of well known journalists who will work with the news channel from its launch in Spring 2006.

Omaar will host a daily documentary programme, Witness, from the station’s London broadcast centre. The programme will tell the stories of witnesses from all over the globe. Content will be gathered from the channel’s broadcast centres around the world, (Doha, Kuala Lumpur, London and Washington) drawing on the increasing number of video journalists who reaching parts of the world which can be difficult to report from.

The director of programming at Al Jazeera International, Paul Gibbs, said: "As the channel’s daily documentary strand, Witness will be the epitome of traditional storytelling with characters that we care about and age old themes presented by internationally renowned journalist Rageh Omaar."

"We will be unveiling more of our diverse programme offering as we get closer to launch in late Spring of this year," Gibbs added.

Omaar was most recently BBC News’ Africa correspondent based in Johannesburg. His reporting during the Iraq war made him a household name in the UK.

Previously Omaar was developing world correspondent for the BBC covering stories ranging from drought in Ethiopia to devastating floods in Mozambique. Prior to that he was Amman correspondent having taken a three-month sabbatical at the University of Jordan to study Arabic. Between 1994 and 1996, he worked as a broadcast journalist for the World Service and then became a producer and reporter for Newshour.

Witness will include material gathered from freelancers and independent companies all across the globe through a unique commissioning site: www.ajicommissioning.net.

Journalists who have also recently joined the channel include Felicity Barr as anchor and Lauren Taylor as correspondent for the London broadcast centre.

Barr, who joins the channel from ITV Evening News, will co-present the news with Stephen Cole, former senior presenter for BBC World.

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