Saturday, February 11, 2006

Rageh Omaar joins Al Jazeera International

Rageh will present the channel's daily documentary strand Witness from Al Jazeera International's London broadcast centre. The programme will give voice to witnesses from all over the globe, featuring human stories made by storytellers from all walks of life. Content will be gathered from the channel's broadcast centres strategically placed around the world (Doha, Kuala Lumpur, London & Washington DC) drawing on a new breed of video journalists reaching parts of the world often ignored.

The Director of Programming at Al Jazeera International Paul Gibbs said, 'As the channel's daily documentary strand, Witness will be the epitome of traditional storytelling with characters that we care about and age old themes presented by internationally renowned journalist Rageh Omaar.'

'We will be unveiling more of our diverse programme offering as we get closer to launch in late Spring of this year,' Gibbs continued.

'It's hugely exciting to be joining a channel which promises to revolutionise global news and current affairs' said Rageh Omaar 'Witness will be what its title implies - a programme of first-hand account. No academics, no commentators unless they are themselves Witnesses.'

Rageh Omaar was most recently BBC News' Africa Correspondent based in Johannesburg. His reporting during the Iraq war made him a household name with nearly 90% of the British population tuning in to see his reports from Baghdad on either the weekday BBC news bulletins, or on News 24. Many of his broadcasts were syndicated across the U.S., where the Washington Post labelled him the 'Scud Stud'.

Previously Rageh was Developing World Correspondent for the BBC covering stories ranging from drought in Ethiopia to devastating floods in Mozambique. Prior to that he was Amman correspondent having taken a three-month sabbatical at the University of Jordan to study Arabic. Between 1994 and 1996, he worked as a broadcast journalist for the World Service and then became a producer and reporter for Newshour.

Rageh began his journalistic career in 1990 as a trainee at The Voice newspaper in Brixton and then moved to City Limits magazine. In 1991 he moved to Ethiopia where he freelanced as a foreign correspondent, much of his work being broadcast by BBC World Service. In 1992, he returned to London as a producer for Focus on Africa for the World Service at Bush House.

Rageh Omaar who hails from Somaliland, was born on 19 July 1967. He is the youngest of four children. Educated at Cheltenham Boys College, he went on to Oxford University where he gained a BA Honours in Modern History in 1990.

Rageh will continue to make programmes for other broadcasters.

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