Africa: SABC News International Launches Next Week

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The SABC will officially launch its African news channel, aimed at providing an African perspective on domestic and international stories, on 20 July 2007 at the new Montecasino Theatre. The Pan-African channel soft-launched on 7 June to test the reception in the market. The soft launch included live feeds from SABC's six international bureaus in Kenya, DRC, Washington, Brussels, New York, Senegal and Nigeria. SABC News International will replace the SABC Africa overnight feed on SABC 2. It will initially broadcast weekdays only. As from April 2008, it will have a full 24-hour schedule.

Initially, the channel will be broadcast via Sentech's Vivid Satellite Digital Decoder which currently broadcasts to sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Europe. In addition to news bulletins, the channel will feature current affairs and investigative programmes, including news magazine shows which will incorporate broader content such as weather, sports, and economic news and studio interviews. The channel will also include French news bulletins which are currently streamed live on the SABC News website.

Dr Snuki Zikalala, SABC group executive for news and current affairs, says, "With the establishment of SABC News bureaux within Africa such as Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya and overseas countries such as New York, Washington, London and Brussels; and in the pipeline are following countries; Jamaica, Peoples Republic of China, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Senegal. SABC News is sure to deliver news from an African perspective - which will form part of a broader and long-term plan of selling content to other broadcasters in Africa and beyond." Zikalala reports that there is already considerable interest from African, American and European broadcasters in carrying the channel.

(Biz-Community (Cape Town), 10 July 2007)