'Satellite TV in the Arab World'
Wadah Khanfar, Director General, Al-Jazeera
5 May 2006, 1400-1530
Few people can doubt that one of the greatest changes in the Middle East in the last decade has been the emergence of Satellite TV. It has provided not just a flow of news but has opened a broader dialogue unheard of under the staid printed media that was previously available.
Arab Satellite television has revolutionised the political debate in the Middle East, generating new pressures for dialogue between individuals and governments. The impact of instant news and the willingness to broadcast dissenting views has had significant implications for policy making both in the Middle East and in the West, and it is certain to have a profound effect on the future of the region.
Among these satellite networks prime place is occupied by Al-Jazeera, and indeed so much so that Western policy makers are often talking about the Al-Jazeera effect.
Mr. Wadah Khanfar
Wadah Khanfar, formerly the Managing Director of Arabic satellite channel Al-Jazeera, was appointed Director-General of the newly formed entity, the Al-Jazeera Satellite Network in March 2006.
In addition to the flagship Al-Jazeera Channel, the Al-Jazeera Satellite Network, includes Al-Jazeera’s, Sports, Live, and Documentary channels, the Al-Jazeera website, and the soon to be launched Al-Jazeera International.
In his tenure as Managing Director since 2003 Mr. Khanfar has been active in extending Al-Jazeera global presence, restructuring the channel, building its institutions and last year launching the highly successful ‘new look’ studios and format. He has vigorously pursued the commitment of Al-Jazeera to reporting the hard news and bringing it to an audience of over 40 million people.
Furthermore, Wadah has not only been responsible for the management side of Al-Jazeera but has also covered the conflicts in Afghaniistan and Iraq as a war correspondent.