Kazakh billionaire’s ‘Jewish Al Jazeera’ in development

"Channel will have a broad appeal rather than focus on Jewish audiences," says Mashkevitch's spokesman.

January 5, 2012 04:20
1 minute read.
Alexander Mashkevitch

MASHKEVITCH 311. (photo credit: Ron Friedman)

Plans for a news television station dubbed by the media as the “Jewish Al Jazeera” are still under wraps several months after officials said a general outline would be announced.

Last April, Kazakhstani Jewish billionaire Alexander Mashkevitch told gatherers at a Keren Hayesod – United Israel Appeal conference in Washington that he intended to open a news television station that would provide “balanced” coverage of the Middle East. Officials working for the mining mogul said more information on the project would be released by September. But on Wednesday, four months past that deadline, they said the project was still “in development.”

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“After we completed drafting a strategic plan with the top consultancy groups in the business last September, we’re trying to develop a competitive edge to draw more investors to the project,” said Zeev Feiner, a spokesman for Mashkevitch.

He said the concept for the news channel has undergone changes. When it launches, it will have a broad appeal rather than focus on Jewish audiences, Feiner said. He was unwilling to say when that might be.

“Launching a serious television station takes a long time,” he added.

Meanwhile, a new Jewish news outlet has been on the air for several months. Jewish News 1, owned by Ukrainian businessmen Vadim Rabinovich and Igor Kolomoisky, launched last September. It consists of an hour-long news program broadcast in a loop 24 hours a day. It is available on satellite television and on the Internet.

Feiner has said in the past that Jewish News 1 and Mashkevitch’s proposed news organization are unrelated.

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