The News that Qatar’s Al Jazeera network plans to open an East Africa Swahili Radio and TV Network has sent established players in the region into a frenzied panic mode.
Al Jazeera Swahili is one of the two new channels that the Doha, Qatar based giant is starting this year, the other being Al Jazeera Turkish.
Sources in the know tell Mombasa411 that Al Jazeera plans to raid a number of East African bureaus for talent as they embark on an ambitious expansion strategy that ultimately will make this Qatar giant a truly global media powerhouse.
Already a number of Swahili News Presenters and Reporters are readying themselves for the interviews and set tentatively for August/September 2011.
Sources close to the heart of the new project intimate to Mombasa411 that Newspaper Advertisements will appear later on this month (July) in a number of publications in East Africa inviting qualified talents to apply for the Al Jazeera Swahili.
However, this news has not been received well with a number of media players in the region, with some media houses resigned to the fact that they will loose some of their best talent to Al Jazeera Swahili.
Sources further intimate that BBC Swahili, Nation Media and Standard Group will most likely be the preffered hunting grounds for the hungry tiger, Al Jazeera Swahili.
This is definetly good news for the Kenyan media industry as it will open up new opportunities for talented individual in Nairobi, Mombasa and Dar Es Salaam.
It is also rumoured along the great corridors of rumourville that a number of top presenters at KTN, NTV and the BBC are ready to abandon ship and join Al Jazeera Swahili…including a *whisper* certain Top respected Swahili TV Investigative Reporter….
The influential television news channel from Qatar has negotiated the rights to install a base in Nairobi in the next few months so that it can cover the whole of East Africa.
Several Al Jazeera officials went to Nairobi in April to meet the director of information, Ezekiel Mutua, his chief Bitange Ndemo, Principal Secretary of the ministry for information and communication, together with other representatives of the Kenyan government.
At the end of their negotiations, Al Jazeera obtained the licences necessary to launch a television channel in Swahili based in Nairobi.
The Qatari channel now only needs to wait for the frequencies to be attributed by the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) before it can begin broadcasting in the next three or four months towards East Africa.
Aljazeera becomes the latest entrant to the Swahili Media market, after Radio France International, Dw-World, China Radio International, America’s VOA, Radio Netherlands and of course our dear BBC.