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Al Jazeera UK channel plan 'at an advanced stage'

Al Jazeera could soon be airing a five hour UK-specfic opt-out from the international Al Jazeera English channel, according to a report filed today by the French AFP news agency, in which it was also revealed that a dedicated service for France was planned.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al-Thani, the network's Director General told AFP:  "We are currently working to launch a news channel from the United Kingdom."

Al Jazeera UK would broadcast during prime time, replacing the international schedule from Al Jazeera English on all UK digital TV platforms with news bulletins tailored for a UK audience.

The move follows the recent announcement that Al Jazeera would be creating a U.S. version of the channel after its controversial acquisition of Al Gore's Current TV. 

Al Jazeera English launched in 2006. In July 2010 it was added to Freeview as a prime-time service. London-based presenter Felicity Barr welcomed Freeview viewers to the station during the channel's first minute on-air on Freeview. In September 2012, the channel went 24 hours on the terrestrial television platform, utilising extra capacity that become available after digital switchover.

Last year, Russian news channel RT began to tailor its content for a UK audience, introducing blocks of UK-specific advertising, although it does not currently have a dedicated UK schedule.


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