Communications mavens have been saying for years that what Israel needs to get its message to the world is an Israeli-type Al Jazeera.

Various business people, especially those in the communications industry, have dipped their toes in the water, but until now, no one was prepared to actually take the plunge.

French businessman Patrick Drahi, owner of the controlling interest in the HOT cable television company, has decided to be one of the financiers of i24 NEWS, despite the heavy financial losses he incurred at HOT.

i24 NEWS which was founded by Frank Malloul, a former adviser to the French government, who will act as its CEO, will operate on a 24/7 basis and will have a website that will concurrently present items on politics, international affairs, culture, sport and other subjects.

Drahi has considerable experience with international broadcast media.

He also owns Numericable SA, cable company, which operates in France, Belgium and Luxembourg.

The new channel will initially broadcast in English, French and Arabic and may expand to other languages at some future stage. Its content will be produced by Haim Slutzky Communication Channels which has produced material for HOT and for Channel 8.

Although no immediate date has been announced for its launch, i24 plans to begin broadcasting this summer and will be headquartered at Jaffa Port.

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